The objective of this research was to develop a conceptual framework based on institutional theory to explain the key drivers or mechanisms behind the adoption and use of the business practice of benchmarking. The paper commences with the conceptualisation of benchmarking identifying the four dimensions of benchmarking, internal, direct competition, industry, and best-in-class. This was followed by the development of a construct for investigation using institutional theory through its major components, organisational isomorphism, organisational dependency, and organisational legitimacy. Overlaying the benchmarking and institutional theory literature on the four dimensions of benchmarking and the institutional theory construct a conceptual crossover was developed identifying specific drivers of institutional theory and their relevant benchmarking dimension. In so doing the study provides a base that creates meaning and significance through linking the subjective and objective realms of practice and theory. This, in part, answers the critics who argue that managerial accounting research focuses on the description of business practices and has failed in developing and testing theories. It also provides a model to test the institutional theory/benchmarking relationships.