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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Antonio Leotta, Carmela Rizza and Daniela Ruggeri

Succession in family firms may determine the survival or the failure of the business itself. Management accounting literature has added little to this issue, mainly…

1381

Abstract

Purpose

Succession in family firms may determine the survival or the failure of the business itself. Management accounting literature has added little to this issue, mainly focusing on the process of succession and change (Songini et al., 2013; Giovannoni and Maraghini, 2013; Giovannoni et al., 2011). This study aims to deal with new management accounting (MA) practices that the junior generation may introduce during the process of succession. The aim of the study is to show that the introduction of new MA practices can contribute to constructing the leadership profile of the junior generation.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the perspective of actor-reality construction (ARC), the authors conducted a case study at a small-sized family firm producing solar shading systems. The authors examined how the construction of the successor’s leadership derives from the integration of four dimensions of reality: facts, possibilities, values and communication. Such an integration is facilitated by the introduction of a new accounting information system and cost reporting.

Findings

The case evidence highlights that the construction of the new generation leadership may emerge as a consequence of the introduction of new MA practices. Moreover, the field evidence highlights that the construction of a new generation leadership is a process that integrates the four dimensions of reality.

Originality/value

From the emergent perspective of ARC, the paper highlights how new MA practices play an active role in constructing the new generation leadership.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Rafael Heinzelmann

The purpose of this paper is to investigate performance measurement practices in venture capital firms. Specifically, the author examines how two organizations make…

1391

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate performance measurement practices in venture capital firms. Specifically, the author examines how two organizations make complexity and uncertainty manageable by mobilizing performance measurement. This study draws on the framework of pragmatic constructivism (PC) (Nørreklit et al., 2016; Nørreklit et al., 2006, 2010), focusing on the integration between the four dimensions of PC, namely, facts, values, possibilities and communication.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a comparative case study methodology.

Findings

The findings show that performance measurement practices are strongly influenced by values playing out via integration in actor-world relations, whereas Venture A mobilizes an actor-centric approach, leading to an open, holistic performance measurement system (PMS) which is based on non-financials, a close involvement in operational matters and actors’ judgement using accounting as “learning machines” (Burchell et al., 1980); and Venture B draws on an analytical approach emphasizing on the role of financial indicators and control enacting accounting as “answer machines” and as “tool for computation” (Burchell et al., 1980). These different approaches to PMS, actor-centric vs analytical, are guided by different values about actor-world relation(s).

Originality/value

The paper provides a context-sensitive account on the relationship between uncertainty and performance measurement practices. First, this paper contributes by providing evidence on how actors use accounting to manage uncertainty and complexity by differently integrating actor-world relation(s) (Nørreklit, et al., 2016; Nørreklit et al., 2006). Second, this study resonates with recent calls for more industry-specific and context-sensitive investigations (Messner, 2016). Finally, the author contributes to the literature asking for more research on the role accounting plays in managing uncertain conditions (Chenhall and Moers, 2015).

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Hanne Nørreklit, Morten Raffnsøe-Møller and Falconer Mitchell

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the practice paradigm of pragmatic constructivism.

1721

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the practice paradigm of pragmatic constructivism.

Design/methodology/approach

Pragmatic constructivism emphasizes the role of the actors in the construction of organized reality. For such construct to function successfully, four dimensions of reality must be integrated in the actor-world relations.

Findings

This includes an examination of pragmatic constructivist theory as an alternative to traditional realism and critical theories of organizational reality. The papers of the special issue include methodological, conceptual and empirical studies to expand the understanding of management accounting in relation to the actors’ construction of functioning organizational practices.

Research limitations/implications

As pragmatic constructivism is a relatively new paradigm, there is a need for further methodological and conceptual development and empirical studies of functioning practices.

Originality/value

In a discipline such as management accounting that can be theoretically polarized between the “realist” scientific mainstream and social constructivist criticism, pragmatic constructivism offers a mediating model in which realism is retained as the pragmatic criteria of success of the organizational actors’ construction.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Pinar Guven-Uslu

This paper examines the relationship between key actors in an organisation and informal professional networks. It uses pragmatic constructivism (PC) as a research paradigm…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the relationship between key actors in an organisation and informal professional networks. It uses pragmatic constructivism (PC) as a research paradigm together with concepts borrowed from the theory of social networks to investigate how these actors responded to a particular set of non-financial performance targets.

Design/methodology/approach

The implementation process of waiting time targets in the Accident and Emergency Department was observed as part of an in-depth study at a large English National Health Service hospital. The main sources of data were face-to-face interviews with key actors, documentary archival evidence and observation diaries.

Findings

The results indicated that with the effect of information sharing through these networks, implementation methodology switched from systems approach to actors approach. Professional connections between key actors had allowed them to generate their own understanding in responding to new performance measures. As a consequence, the perceptions of other actors in relevant networks, as well as the implementation practices were influenced.

Research limitations/implications

This is a single-site, in-depth case study; hence, the findings are not generalizable.

Practical implications

This study demonstrated just how influential some key actors can be in shaping the implementation of performance measures.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to PC by providing evidence on the influence of informal professional networks and structural holes in shaping organisational topos.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Teemu Laine, Tuomas Korhonen, Petri Suomala and Asta Rantamaa

This paper aims to elaborate the concepts of boundary subjects and boundary objects in constructing and communicating relevant accounting facts for managing product…

1395

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to elaborate the concepts of boundary subjects and boundary objects in constructing and communicating relevant accounting facts for managing product development (PD). Boundary subjects as reflective actors benefit effective accounting enactment, by building a shared understanding about different actors’ roles and information needs, and by helping to respond to these needs with new boundary objects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a longitudinal interventionist case study of a machinery manufacturer. The focus of this case study was the production ramp-up phase at the end of a PD program. Different actors’ needs were first collected and elaborated by interventionist researchers (boundary subjects). Then accounting prototypes (boundary objects) provided new means of communication.

Findings

The findings show that dealing with boundaries is crucial in accounting development. The role of boundary subjects was fundamental in the process of choosing, constructing, elaborating and communicating accounting facts. During this process, accounting prototypes integrated new accounting facts, the boundary subjects mitigated the boundaries and the boundary objects focused and restricted communication about accounting facts.

Research limitations/implications

The paper tests the pragmatic constructivism approach by examining accounting enactment under uncertainty and ambiguity. The study refines pragmatic constructivism in terms of boundaries, boundary subjects as actors and boundary objects.

Practical implications

The intentional use of boundary subjects and objects as communication platform could push a more active inclusion of business controllers as active business partners.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on accounting development by highlighting the use of boundary subjects and boundary objects as fundamental mechanisms in constructing and communicating accounting facts.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 8 April 2022

Cemil Eren Fırtın

This study aims to explore the calculations and valuations that unfold in everyday practices within social care settings. Specifically, the paper concerns the role of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the calculations and valuations that unfold in everyday practices within social care settings. Specifically, the paper concerns the role of accounting in dealing with multiple calculable and non-calculable spaces within the case management process. The study sheds light on the multiplicity produced in constructing the client as an object through the calculations and valuations embedded in the costing and caring practices in social work.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a qualitative case study in a Swedish social care organisation, with a specific focus on the calculations and valuations within the case management process. The data have been gathered from 20 interviews with social workers, team leaders, managers and a management accountant, along with more than 36 h of on-site observations and internal organisational documents, including policy documents, guidelines and procedural lists.

Findings

The case management process involves interconnected practices in constructing the client as an object. While monetary calculations and those associated with worth are embedded in costing and caring practices, they interact and proliferate in various ways. Three elements are found: transforming service units into centres of calculation, constructing the accounts of calculation and establishing the cost-value calculations. Calculations and valuations are actuated in these elements in describing the need, matching the case with the unit and caseworker and deciding on the measure. The objectification of the client entails the construction of accounts, for example, ongoing qualifications, categorisations and groupings of units, juridical frameworks, case types, needs and measures. As an object multiple, the client becomes different objects at different stages, challenging the establishment accounts, and thus producing a range of calculations and valuations. Such diversity in calculations concomitantly produces more calculations to represent the present and absent multiple facets of the client, resulting in a multiplicity of costing and caring.

Practical implications

The study might flag up for practitioners the possible risks and unintended consequences of depending too much on fixed guidelines and (performance) indicators since social work involves object multiples, which are always in diversity and changeable in situ. Considering the multiple dimensions within the specific contexts could thus be helpful to mitigate such risks in the evaluation of social care processes and the design of (performance) metrics.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature on accountingisation by extending the concept as a part of ongoing organisational practices, materialised within the calculations of money and worth in everyday social care. Besides demonstrating their reconsolidation, this study shows a multiplicity of costing and caring practices depending on the way the client is constructed, resulting in the proliferation of accounting(s) and ultimately accountingisation of social work.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 25 April 2014

Manfred Lueger and Oliver Vettori

Higher education is positively imbued with social meaning. Every academic ritual, scientific routine or scholarly practice carries meanings that go far beyond the…

Abstract

Higher education is positively imbued with social meaning. Every academic ritual, scientific routine or scholarly practice carries meanings that go far beyond the situational motives of the actors themselves. Social science hermeneutics, one of the best-known institutionalised paradigms in German-speaking qualitative research, offers a sound methodological basis and various methodical variants in order to approach such latent meaning levels. With its focus on reconstructing the underlying logics, values and norm systems of interaction processes and social structures, social science hermeneutics tackles questions that are highly relevant for understanding contemporary developments in higher education strategy and policy. This chapter introduces readers to key concepts in social science hermeneutics and their potential for higher education research. Based on an overview of the main methodological characteristics, the authors then give an in-depth example of an interpretative process by providing a step-by-step reconstruction of different levels of meaning.

Details

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research II
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-823-5

Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Marita Svane

This chapter proposes a quantum relational process philosophy as an approach for studying organization-in-becoming as a world-creating process. Furthermore, the quantum…

Abstract

This chapter proposes a quantum relational process philosophy as an approach for studying organization-in-becoming as a world-creating process. Furthermore, the quantum relational process philosophy is tied to quantum storytelling. Whereas the quantum relational process philosophy outlines a philosophy of a processual ontology, epistemology, and ethic, quantum storytelling provides the storytelling medium through which such an ontology, epistemology, and ethic emerges through articulation and actualization. As such, the two approaches are introduced as inseparable from each other.

The focus of this chapter is to unfold the ties between the quantum relational process philosophy and quantum storytelling through the perspective of the quantum relational process philosophy itself.

The proposed quantum relational process philosophy is defined as Being-in-Becoming. Thereby, this approach is suggested as an alternative to the “Being” perspective and the “Becoming” perspective or at least as a further development of the becoming perspective. These latter two perspectives present two different ways of viewing organizational change: development and transformation.

The being perspective relies on substance ontology acknowledging the existence of entities: that “which is.” In substance ontology, however, entities such as individuals and organizations are viewed as existing in themselves in fixed space-time frames. This view entails a rather static and stable ontology, perceiving the organization as a ready-made world of stable, unchanging entities. This perspective is often referred to as the approach of building the organizational world through intervention and control of change.

As a contrast, the becoming perspective relies on a process ontology while the organization is perceived as a sea of constant flux and change through which the organization emerges on the way. In this process-oriented perspective, attention is directed toward “that which is becoming.” In this perspective, the organization is perceived as a world-making phenomenon emerging through ceaseless processes of transformation. This approach is often referred to as the dwelling approach, that is, to dwell in the world-making phenomenon letting it happen. This perspective tends to ignore that which exists, that is the ready-made forms, and only focus on that which is becoming.

In this chapter, the proposed being-in-becoming perspective views the tension between being and becoming as a dialectical interplay that is decisive to organizational transformation. However, in the being-in-becoming perspective, “entities” are viewed from a quantum perspective whereby being-in-becoming differs from the substance ontology in its view of the nature of “entities.” In this perspective, the organization is viewed as a dialectical interplay between, at the one hand, the organizational form(ing) of life and, at the other hand, the aliveness of unfolding and transforming living life-worlds of being-in-the-world in fluid space and open time. This dialectical interplay is conceived as central in organizational world-creating processes.

The aim of the chapter is to develop a conceptual framework of a quantum relational process philosophy that embraces the dialectics of transforming organizations. The contribution is to be capable of understanding the performative consequences of dialectic to organizational transformation viewed from the being-in-becoming perspective of the quantum relational process philosophy.

Through the contribution of Heidegger, Hegel, Aristotle, and Boje, and further enriched by Barad, Bakhtin, and Shotter, a conceptual framework is developed for understanding, analyzing, and problematizing dialectical organizational world-creating.

This framework is called “Fourfold World-Creating.” The fourfold world-creating framework keeps the dialectic of organizational transformation at its center while it at the same time take into consideration the dialectical interplay of ontology, epistemology, and ethic. In this sense, the framework is proposed as quantum relational process philosophy. The incorporation of ethic in the quantum relational process philosophy represents an additional contribution of the chapter.

The fourfold world-creating framework is furthermore suggested to be conceived as a quantum relational process philosophy of the antenarrative dimension in David Boje’s quantum storytelling triad framework encompassing: (1) the narrative, (2) the living stories, and (3) the antenarrative. In his recent research, David Boje has a developed a dialectical perspective on his storytelling framework. Following in line with this thinking, this chapter suggests viewing (1) the narrative as the ready-made form, (2) the living stories as the living life-worlds, and (3) the antenarrative as fourfold world-creating.

In this sense, the proposed dialectical fourfold world-creating framework and its embeddedness in the quantum relational process philosophy contributes to our understanding of the research contributes of antenarrative storytelling in organizational studies.

As findings, the chapter proposes what could be considered as ontological, epistemological, and ethical key constituents in dialectical organizational world-creating. The contribution of these findings encompasses an analytical framework for (1) understanding the dialectical, transformative movements of the organization as well as (2) analyzing and problematizing the cease of dialectical tensions that seems to lock the organization in a particular state of being, only capable of repeating and reproducing its ready-made world in fixed space-time frames.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Quantum Storytelling Consulting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-671-0

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 October 2021

Jakob Mathias Liboriussen, Hanne Nørreklit and Mihaela Trenca

This paper aims to address a dilemma raised in the accounting literature on how managers of creative practices can produce and use accounting measurements that support…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address a dilemma raised in the accounting literature on how managers of creative practices can produce and use accounting measurements that support employees’ self-determination to create whilst also building trust in them to work for the interests of the organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Using pragmatic constructivism as a paradigmatic setting, the paper develops a learning method of trust building as a way for organisations to produce and use accounting measurements. Empirical analysis of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 demonstrates the method in action.

Findings

The study displays a learning method of trust building as an effective way for organisations to account for their creative practices without intruding on the creative process of the people involved. The method involves proactive judgement and pragmatic observation of the trustworthiness of the actors’ language games, construction of quality in the conceptual structures of management narratives and measurement models, and learning that narrows the gap between the actors’ proactive judgement and the pragmatic observation of trustworthiness. Through such processes, including principles of truth, dialogical interactions, ongoing reflections and co-authorship, trust can be built in self-determining, creative actors to drive intentional results.

Research limitations/implications

The learning method of trust building extends the literature on trust building and on knowledge processes of performance measurement of actors in creative practices.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt in the accounting literature to develop a learning method of trust building.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 18 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 June 2019

Morten Jakobsen, Falconer Mitchell, Hanne Nørreklit and Mihaela Trenca

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a paradigmatic foundation for educators to prepare students of management accounting for the new demands of the role of trusted…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a paradigmatic foundation for educators to prepare students of management accounting for the new demands of the role of trusted business partner in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper argues for the use of pragmatic constructivism as a basis for development of a paradigmatic foundation for educating advanced students of management accounting. Furthermore, it contains an empirical insight through a case example of how pragmatic constructivism can be used as a pedagogical tool in different management accounting educational situations.

Findings

The analysis shows how pragmatic constructivism can be used as a less reductionist paradigm than realism to tackle the research-teaching-practice deficiencies found in conventional thinking on accounting education. Pragmatic constructivism is shown to provide important methodological and conceptual elements in developing, understanding and guiding the application of management accounting techniques in dynamic business practices. Placing an emphasis on teaching methodological skills relevant for management accountants is shown to have an important impact on students and their ability to act as business partners.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is exploratory in the sense that a new paradigmatic framework for educating students of management accounting to be business partners is outlined and illustrated through its implementation in a specific master’s degree programme. However, this analysis should be viewed as only a first step towards developing pragmatic constructivism as a paradigmatic foundation for teaching management accounting as a basis for a business partner role.

Originality/value

The proposed use of research on pragmatic constructivism as a basis for management accounting education to support a future business partner role is novel in the literature on management accounting. The value of its application lies in its potential to create successful utilisation of the practices of management accounting.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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