The purpose of this paper is to examine how accounting is implicated in the creation and maintenance of organizational boundaries. The analysis focuses on organizations subjected to conflicting objectives as a result of new public management (NPM) reforms.
The analysis is based on case studies of four cultural organizations (Show Caves) in Greece. Data are collected from semi-structured interviews, informal discussions and document analysis. The paper draws on Bourdieu’s concepts of “field”, “capital” and “habitus” and Llewellyn’s analysis of organizational boundary maintenance.
The study observes that NPM reforms contributed to shifting organizational boundaries – from cultural/archaeological to economic/financial and this resulted in conflicting organizational objectives. This subsequently created conflicts between key actors (municipal politicians, professional managers and anthropologists). These actors, depending on the positions (and habitus) they occupy, and the capital (political, cultural and symbolic) they hold, are able to bargain for resources (economic capital). The conflicting objectives (archaeological/cultural/historical, political and commercial) that emerged and the tensions that arose between the key players shaped the identities and boundaries of the Show Caves.
The study makes an original contribution by revealing the complexity and struggle between actors and the role of accounting in managing the boundaries. For example, the study explains how financial threshold and accountability structures function within these cultural organizations that are subjected to conflicting objectives in the context of NPM reforms.
Kartalis, N., Tsamenyi, M. and Jayasinghe, K. (2016), "Accounting in new public management (NPM) and shifting organizational boundaries: Evidence from the Greek Show Caves", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 248-277. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-05-2014-1707Download as .RIS
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