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Forming and transforming shared services: the performativity of management devices

Daniel Harritz (Department of Business and Management, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 4 June 2018



This study aims to investigate the role of management devices in transformation processes. This was done by analysing how devices persuaded people into actions, resulting in drifts that both led to the creation of a Shared Service Centre (SSC) and transformed it into a cost centre, something resembling an internal joint venture, followed by a profit centre and, finally, a centre of expertise.


A longitudinal case-based approach inspired by Latour’s (2005) ideas on attachments. The aim was to show how links between humans and non-humans in the form of management devices brought about drifts leading to the formation and transformation of a SSC.


Attachments between devices and humans fuelled the formation and transformation of the SSC. Such innovations were revealed to be a series of drifts, which demonstrates that an SSC is not a static object but rather an ever-evolving innovation.

Research limitations/implications

On the basis of Latour (2005), the study reveals how socio–technical constellations are involved in organisational transformation, resulting in a SSC taking on new and unanticipated roles.

Practical implications

The findings facilitate a deeper understanding of the factors that initiate organisational development and transformation in SSCs. In addition, the study identifies the role different devices play in such transformation processes.


This paper contributes to the literature by analysing how a SSC is created and then transformed over time.



Harritz, D. (2018), "Forming and transforming shared services: the performativity of management devices", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 216-233.



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