Management accounting researchers have criticised the practitioner-oriented management accounting techniques of the last decade for lacking integrated theories. A contrasting perspective is that these emerging techniques are not atheoretical, but rather natural applications of existing theory as defined in complementary disciplines. Using concepts theory, this paper relates the strategic balanced scorecard (SBSC) to the theoretical concepts of cybernetics. The three fundamental characteristics of cybernetics: causal relationships, communication and change are compared to the SBSC in practice. The results align the practical characteristics of the SBSC to contemporary descriptions of theory, specifically those directed towards abstraction and explanation, thus providing a value-added aspect to practical organisational processes.