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Exploiting institutional contradictions: the role of management accounting in continuous improvement implementation
Örebro University, Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics. (CEROC)
Örebro University, Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics. (CEROC)
2006 (English)In: Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management/Emerald, ISSN 1176-6093, Vol. 3, no 2, 126-144 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Based on an institutional perspective, this study explores the role of management accounting (MA) in promoting or impeding changes in the employees’ conceptions of shopfloor worker responsibility in a company trying to implement a Continuous Improvement (CI) working practice.

Methodology/approach: We use an ethnographically inspired research method where weekly CI meetings in two workgroups were observed over a period of eight months and in-depth interviews with managers and operators were conducted regularly.

Findings: The study reveals that active and skilful exploiters of inconsistencies within social arrangements may use MA as one important way of transforming a traditional vertical view of worker responsibility into a more horizontally-oriented view by: creating collective reflection and reasoned analysis of the limits of the present order; and, by visualizing and justifying an alternative model(s) of social behaviour. However, the study also shows that MA may contribute to the reinforcement of a vertical view by the use of group-level measures strictly as a one-way performance monitoring device.

Research limitations/implications: Arguably, it is worthwhile to explore the existence of ‘institutional heterogeneity’ because our study highlights that ‘contradictions’ between social orders may not only nurture institutional stability, but may also be a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for institutional change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bradford: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2006. Vol. 3, no 2, 126-144 p.
Keyword [en]
Management Accounting, organizational theory, organizational change, continuous improvement
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-5707DOI: 10.1108/11766090610670668OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-5707DiVA: diva2:173919
Available from: 2009-02-18 Created: 2009-02-18 Last updated: 2012-05-23Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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