Purpose To examine the potential of strong structuration theory in management accounting research. Design/methodology/approach The paper explains how the ontological perspective of strong structuration theory extends the work of Giddens and explores how the perspective overcomes a number of the limitations of existing management accounting research based on structuration theory. Findings Strong structuration theory develops and extends the work of Giddens, providing greater insights into the role of agents, improves our understanding of the diffusion of accounting practices through organisational fields, adds to our knowledge of how artefacts are used in the production and reproduction of organisational life, and improves research design. Research limitations/implications Strong structuration theory provides clear guidance about management accounting case study research design, and suggests the potential for the accounting research community to engage more actively in debates about the development of structuration theory beyond the work of Giddens. Originality/value Provides a clear explanation of the ontology of strong structuration theory, its implications for research design, and how it holds the potential to overcome many of the limitations of earlier management accounting studies deploying structuration theory.