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Accountants’ proactivity in intra-organisational networks: a strong structuration perspective

Lyn Daff (School of Commerce, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Lisa Jack (Portsmouth Business School, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 22 August 2018

Issue publication date: 11 September 2018

756

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the importance of accountants’ networks inside organisations, the parties who comprise those networks and how accountants go about building and maintaining their networks. It also illustrates the use of strong structuration theory, which specifically considers the networks that surround agents. The theoretical discussion highlights the significance of communication as agency in the context of accounting practice through a strong structuration perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach to the inquiry was adopted. Interviews were conducted with 30 Australian accountants from 22 not-for-profit organisations. A thematic approach was used to analyse the transcripts. Structuration theory, supplemented by strong structuration, informed the study.

Findings

The interviewees attested to the importance of communication and developing networks within their organisations. They actively sought to expand and enhance their networks. The accountants played a pivotal role in networks and they pursued both horizontal and vertical relations. The accountants’ knowledge of organisational positions and perceptions of their own roles were used strategically in attempts to alter the internal structures of networked others.

Research limitations/implications

The interviewed accountants worked in not-for-profit organisations and this may influence the findings. Future research might consider accountants working in for-profit organisations. The study provides insights into strategies to develop intra-organisational networks.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the meagre literature regarding accountants’ networks within organisations. It provides insights that may assist accountants in enhancing their own networks. Although structuration theory is well-established in accounting research, the enrichments offered by strong structuration are illustrated in this study.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by the University of South Australia and Avondale College of Higher Education. Thanks are extended to Professor Lee Parker, Associate Professor Margaret Lightbody and Dr Gerrard Stone for their helpful input into this research.

Citation

Daff, L. and Jack, L. (2018), "Accountants’ proactivity in intra-organisational networks: a strong structuration perspective", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 1691-1719. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2015-2190

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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