ABSTRACT

T his chapter will read like Dilbert but is no joke. The followingsituations involve companies with which I have been personallyinvolved, and I have first-hand knowledge regarding the decisions and outcomes. I used to tell these stories to my students, clients, and people who attended my seminars. My students thought I made them up because, in their words, “No one could be that stupid.” People who work in industry simply nod their heads in sad agreement and tell me equally strange and disturbing tales from their own companies or companies they have previously worked for. No matter how ridiculous people’s actions appear, I can consistently tie their actions to their honest attempts to comply with measurements, policies, and strategies, either written or unwritten. Standard cost accounting measures require logical people to act in ways that do not make logical sense.