The research goal was to trace behavioural patterns of management accountants, comprising activities and courses of action, in order to enhance understanding of the management accounting profession.
Protoscripts were derived, using interview techniques and a research method called “interpretive interactionism”. These protoscripts depict observable, recurrent activities and patterns of interaction characteristic for a group of persons, and can be used in various types of situations.
The paper describes the procedure and outcome of the collection of behavioural protoscripts used by management accountants and controllers, as well as their possible ordering.
The findings enlarge understanding of the controller profession, but are limited solely to controller activities. The protoscripts collected are stereotypical, at least for the controllers interviewed. Of course, all human experience is interpretation and it should be acknowledged that interpretations are never complete.
The control mechanisms and instruments that emerge in an organisation are the result of several interrelated factors and processes. Of special interest here is the behaviour of management accountants and controllers in shaping, maintaining and exerting control. Behavioural protoscripts can show how management accountants give contents to their role and structure their daily work.
Scripted behaviour of management accountants has received little prior research attention, especially in combination with the research method of interpretive interactionism.
De Loo, I., Nederlof, P. and Verstegen, B. (2006), "Detecting behavioural patterns of Dutch controller graduates through interpretive interactionism principles", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 46-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/11766090610659742Download as .RIS
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