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This paper aims to focus on the use of qualitative research methods to gain a better understanding of the performance management system (PMS) of one of the largest…
This paper aims to focus on the use of qualitative research methods to gain a better understanding of the performance management system (PMS) of one of the largest retailers in North America. The motivation for the research was to assess whether the PMS at one of the world’s largest retail companies was congruent with the most recent thinking and research in the management accounting literature.
Using open-ended interviews, the paper seeks to develop relevant hypotheses emerging from the dimensions of the Strauss and Corbin’s qualitative research methodology (1998). A qualitative methodology was used because it provides a structured approach and analytical techniques that can build upon existing theory and literature.
The qualitative evidence collected during the course of the research indicates that financial measures were predominantly used by the company in its PMS, and that this reliance on financial measures may be an artifact of the industry in which the company operates. The retail industry is highly competitive, and it is very sensitive to changes in customer tastes and behavior, as well as shareholder and financial market pressures. In addition to financial measures, it was found that operational management developed certain non-financial performance measures and that this development may have been a response by operational managers to wider stakeholder pressures and external influences. However, these performance measures appear to be not fully integrated in the PMS and are therefore de-coupled and relatively unimportant in, or entirely absent from, top-level decision-making.
Research limitations and implications
The conclusions of the paper provide support for the concepts of isomorphism and de-coupling as found in the literature of new institutional theory.
The case study approach has enabled to explore and gain further understanding of management accounting practices, particularly performance measurement and management, in their natural setting. Strauss and Corbin’s (1998) grounded theory methodology was adopted because it provides a structured set of analytical steps and systematic analytical techniques for handling and interpreting data and theory building.
The purpose of this Special Issue of Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management is to focus on qualitative research in accounting from a North American perspective…
The purpose of this Special Issue of Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management is to focus on qualitative research in accounting from a North American perspective. The goal is to highlight the possibility of greater contributions to qualitative research in accounting from researchers based in North America and to highlight some significant contributions produced by authors in North American universities in the qualitative domain.
The paper is conceptual in nature.
This sample of North American qualitative research in accounting provides an example of some of the different types of qualitative work being done. In most respects the articles are similar to qualitative research being done in other parts of the world. Perhaps the key difference is that the research has been undertaken for the most part by senior researchers who have been able to take some risks with a research paradigm that may not be widely accepted at their universities or they may be fortunate to be located at universities which value such research.
The paper broadens the view of qualitative research to North America where it appears that qualitative research has been relatively undervalued in recent years.