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  • 1.
    Englund, Hans
    et al.
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    Burns, John
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    25 Years of Giddens in accounting research: achievements, limitations and the future2011In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 36, no 8, p. 494-513Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Twenty five years ago, Giddens' structuration theory (ST) was introduced into accounting research as a reaction to the history-less, apolitical and technical-efficiency focus of traditional functionalist research. A quarter of a century later, this growing stream of research consists of some 65 published papers and has become one of the dominant alternative approaches used to explore accounting as an organizational and social practice. We review this literature based on the following two research questions; (i) what are the major achievements of this literature, and in what respects has it contributed to our understanding of accounting in relation to other alternative streams of accounting research, such as those grounded in critical theory, actor-network theory (ANT), new-institutional sociology (NIS) and practice theory? and; (ii) what are the limitations of the ST strand and, considering these (and its relative strengths), how should it be advanced in the future? Overall, we find that the mobilization of ST as a general ontological framework has generated three major and largely unique contributions, namely; (i) the introduction of a duality perspective; (ii) the conceptualization of accounting as an interwoven totality comprised of structures of signification, domination and legitimation, and; (iii) an ontological basis for theorizing how, when and why socially embedded agents may produce both continuity and change in accounting practices. However, we also conclude that it is difficult to identify a particular and distinctive empirical imprint of the ST literature, and that some of the theory's 'competitive advantages' are far from fully exploited. Based on these identified strengths and weaknesses of the ST perspective, we consider an array of directions for future scholarly effort. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • 2.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    Örebro University, Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics.
    Management accounting system design in manufacturing departments: an empirical investigation using a multiple contingencies approach2005In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 30, no 2, p. 99-126Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper proposes a multiple contingencies model that examines the combined effect of departmental interdependencies and organization structures on management accounting system (MAS) design. The model was tested by means of empirical data collected from a questionnaire addressed to 160 production managers. The response rate was 82.5%. The findings provide some support for the notion that organizations adapt their MAS design to the control requirements of the situation. Furthermore, the study offers some empirical support for the existence of suboptimal equifinality. That is, in situations which lack of a single dominant imperative, several alternative, and functionally equivalent management control system (MCS) designs, may arise.

  • 3.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    et al.
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    Greve, Jan
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    The appropriateness of statistical methods for testing contingency hypotheses in management accounting research2008In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 33, no 7-8, p. 995-1009Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, the contingency-based management accounting literature has been criticized for being fragmentary and contradictory as a result of methodological limitations. This study adds to this picture by showing that the theoretical meaning of some commonly used statistical techniques is unclear, i.e. the functional forms are not precise enough to be able to discriminate between several sometimes even conflicting theories of contingency fit. The study also shows that the techniques differ significantly in terms of how interaction effects between context and management accounting are modeled. This implies that some methods are only appropriate when theory predicts interaction effects in general while others are only appropriate in cases where theory specifies a more precise functional form of interaction such as symmetrical or crossover interactions. Based on these observations, several recommendations for future research are proposed

  • 4.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Johansson, Tobias
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Wennblom, Gabriella
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    The contingent nature of complementarity between results and value-based controls for managing company-level profitability: A situational strength perspective2019In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 79, p. 1-17, article id 101058Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Integrating recent theorizing on complementarity and situational strength with management control system (MCS) theory, we investigate how, why and under what circumstances companies may beneficially combine results control and two value-based controls (the use of belief systems and employee socialization practices) to handle the goal alignment problem that typically arises when managing company-level profitability. Drawing upon a survey of MCS practices in 103 strategic business units within the largest companies in Sweden, we find that the use of socialization practices reinforces the marginal return of results control, and vice versa. We also find that higher levels of environmental unpredictability both strengthen this synergetic effect, and reveal a similar complementarity effect of the simultaneous use of results control and the belief system. Our study thus contributes to the MCS literature by showing that; (i) results control may beneficially interact with two important, yet largely unexplored value-based controls, (ii) situational strength theory is highly useful for analytically disentangling the (dis)abilities of these controls in terms of them conveying clarity, consequentiality, consistency and constraint, respectively, and; (iii) the extent to which these controls convey non-overlapping, yet complementary abilities to address the goal alignment problem (required to produce synergetic effects on company-level profitability) is dependent on environmental context.

  • 5.
    Jordan, Silvia
    et al.
    School of Management, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
    Messner, Martin
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. School of Management, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.
    Enabling control and the problem of incomplete performance indicators2012In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 37, no 8, p. 544-564Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To which extent do managers care about the design characteristics of performance indicators and other control systems? The paper examines this question with the help of the framework of enabling and coercive control. Drawing upon data from a longitudinal field study in a manufacturing organisation, we study operational managers’ attitudes towards the incompleteness of performance indicators. Managers are likely to perceive performance indicators as enabling if the latter facilitate their actions without unduly constraining them. This is true even for incomplete performance indicators as long as managers can handle these indicators in a flexible way, treating them as means rather than ends when carrying out their work. Our case also shows, however, how a flexible use of indicators becomes more difficult to sustain once top management signals an increased importance of the indicators. Incompleteness then becomes a more pressing concern for managers. We illuminate the various forms of top management sense-giving through which such tightening of control is achieved and we show how they translate into managers’ perception of the control system as being a coercive rather than enabling one. Taken together, the findings of the present paper add to our understanding of enabling and coercive forms of control and also extend previous studies that have addressed the problem of incomplete accounting information.

  • 6.
    Malmi, T.
    et al.
    Aalto University, Finland.
    Bedford, D. S.
    University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
    Brühl, R.
    ESCP Business School, Germany.
    Dergård, J.
    Lund University, Sweden.
    Hoozée, S.
    Ghent University, Belgium.
    Janschek, O.
    WU Vienna, Austria.
    Willert, J.
    Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
    Ax, C.
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Bednarek, P.
    Wrocław University of Economics, Poland.
    Gosselin, M.
    Université Laval, Canada.
    Hanzlick, M.
    ESCP Business School, Germany.
    Israelsen, P.
    Aalborg University, Denmark.
    Johanson, D.
    Norwegian School of Economics, Norway.
    Johansson, Tobias
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Madsen, D. Ø
    University College of Southeast Norway, Norway.
    Rohde, C.
    Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
    Sandelin, M.
    University of Tampere, Finland.
    Strömsten, T.
    Stockholm School of Economics and Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Toldbod, T.
    Aalborg University, Denmark.
    Culture and management control interdependence: An analysis of control choices that complement the delegation of authority in Western cultural regions2020In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, article id 101116Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines the influence of cultural regions on the interdependence between delegation of authority and other management control (MC) practices. In particular, we assess whether one of the central contentions of agency theory, that incentive contracting and delegation are jointly determined, holds in different cultural regions. Drawing on prior literature, we hypothesise that the MC practices that operate as a complement to delegation vary depending on societal values and preferences, and that MC practices other than incentive contracting will complement delegation in firms in non-Anglo cultural regions. Using data collected from 584 strategic business units across three Western cultural regions (Anglo, Germanic, Nordic), our results show that the interdependence between delegation and incentive contracting is confined to Anglo firms. In the Nordic and Germanic regions, we find that strategic and action planning participation operate as a complement to delegation, while delegation is also complemented by manager selection in Nordic firms. Overall, our study demonstrates that cultural values and preferences significantly influence MC interdependence, and suggests that caution needs to be taken in making cross-cultural generalisations about the complementarity of MC practices.

  • 7.
    Wällstedt, Niklas
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. Stockholm Business School, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Sources of dissension: The making and breaking of the individual in Swedish aged care2020In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, ISSN 0361-3682, E-ISSN 1873-6289, Vol. 80, article id 101077Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is well known that both management and professional work in areas such as health and aged care rely upon division of individuals into categories of, for example, diagnoses or costs and revenues. The present paper turns this around and asks: what happens if individuality, the indivisible wholeness of the person, is taken seriously in such practices? If every human being is interpreted as unique and special, and their wholeness is recognised in the relationship between professionals and an individual receiving care? The paper analyses two rival programmes - those of efficiency and individuality - and their operationalisation in Swedish aged care, and show how these programmes and corresponding technologies are sources of dissension that can be used to problematise how care should be conducted. However, such dissension also opens up spaces of freedom, which allow care practitioners to conduct care differently.

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