The activity-based approach

John Innes, Reza Kouhy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The activity-based (AB) approach concentrates on overhead costs, which are a significant percentage of total costs for many organizations in both the private and public sectors. In the 1980s the AB approach concentrated on product or service costing with a two-stage process. First, overheads are pooled on the basis of activities (such as material handling and purchasing) which consume resources. Second, products or services consume activities and cost drivers (such as the number of material movements and number of purchase orders) are the links between activity cost pools and product (or service) lines. One initial attraction of AB costing was the different unit product (or service) costs calculated on an AB basis from the unit product (or service) costs calculated using traditional overhead costing. Details of the mechanics of AB costing can be found in Innes and Mitchell (1992).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReview of management accounting research
EditorsMagdy G. Abdel-Kader
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9780230353275
ISBN (Print)9781349321971
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2011


  • Cost management
  • Management account
  • Cost driver
  • Harvard Business School
  • Longitudinal case study


Dive into the research topics of 'The activity-based approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this