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Article
Publication date: 11 October 2018

Martin Quinn and Martin R.W. Hiebl

Recent research provides useful insights on management accounting routines, yet little is written on their foundations. In particular, factors which may contribute to…

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Abstract

Purpose

Recent research provides useful insights on management accounting routines, yet little is written on their foundations. In particular, factors which may contribute to eventual management accounting routines have not been detailed in terms of the process of routinization. Thus, this paper aims to provide an initial theory-based understanding on the foundation of management accounting routines. In turn, it is hoped that this will raise further research interest on this topic.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on extant literature, a framework on foundations of management accounting routines is developed, and two empirical cases illustrate its operationalization.

Findings

The framework illustrates that a more complete understanding of change to management accounting routines can be gleaned when more is known about their foundations. The foundations are likely to be influenced by a combination and/or interaction of factors at the organizational level, the organizational field level and the economic and political level.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the so far limited understanding of the foundation of management accounting routines, more research is required. This framework may be useful to guide such research.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of few papers to offer an initial theory-based understanding on the foundations of management accounting routines specifically. This understanding can be built on to improve our knowledge in the management accounting domain of the complex, but ubiquitous, concept of organizational routines.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2019

Martin Quinn, Martin Hiebl, Romilda Mazzotta and Stefania Veltri

This paper aims to draw on a family business perspective to explore the historic accounting records of an Italian liquorice juice business. The applicability of the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to draw on a family business perspective to explore the historic accounting records of an Italian liquorice juice business. The applicability of the three-circle model of family business systems to such an historic context is examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Using archival records, the Cassa accounting book of the business is studied. Its transactions are examined to distinguish family and business items over the period from 1875 to 1920.

Findings

Through an analysis of the accounting records, the family, ownership and business systems are shown to overlap more than typically expected in a contemporary setting.

Originality/value

Contemporary literature suggests the three-circle model of a family business is relatively static, but it has not been applied to an historic context. This study suggests that the model can be applied in historic studies, but it is not static over time with its elements needing refinement.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2020

Martin Quinn and Orla Feeney

This paper examines how accounting concepts were utilised in domestic waste collection services in Ireland over the past two decades or so. In comparison to other former…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how accounting concepts were utilised in domestic waste collection services in Ireland over the past two decades or so. In comparison to other former “free” services in the Irish context, the prevalence of accounting concepts has been greater and delivered a more successful outcome.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the concepts of calculation, the “economic” and economization, events around domestic waste policy in Ireland are examined, and the increasing prevalence of concepts such as price, cost and profitability in these processes are a focal point. Publicly available documents such as government policy documents, parliamentary records and media reports are utilised to draw out these concepts. The period of analysis is 1996–2018.

Findings

The findings reveal the role of accounting concepts in the economization of domestic waste policy in Ireland. The result of the economization process was a fully privatised, profit-oriented, price-monitored system.

Research limitations/implications

This research provides a broad view of accounting concepts in the management of domestic waste. It highlights how waste policy in Ireland travelled through instances of being political and economic over time. The research is limited by its use of secondary data.

Originality/value

This study highlights how accounting concepts were used in varying ways to bring about a satisfactory solution to domestic waste disposal in Ireland, namely the privatisation of waste services.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Evert Lindquist and Richard Marcy

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the competing values framework (CVF) could be used by public service leaders to analyze and better understand public sector…

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5705

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the competing values framework (CVF) could be used by public service leaders to analyze and better understand public sector leadership challenges, thereby improving their ability in leading across borders and generations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper applies the CVF, originally developed for understanding leadership in the private sector and shows how it can be adapted for analyzing and developing skill in addressing different leadership challenges in public sector contexts, including setting out specific learning exercises.

Findings

The paper has four parts. The first provides an overview of the origins, logic, and evolution of the CVF. The second part shows how the CVF is relevant and useful for assessing management and leadership values in the public sector. The third part identifies specific leadership challenges and learning exercises for public sector leaders at different stages of development. The final part concludes by reflecting on the CVF and similar frameworks, and where future research might go.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen research approach, propositions within the paper should be tentatively applied.

Practical implications

This paper provides guidance for the better understanding of complex leadership challenges within the public sector through the use of the CVF.

Social implications

The social implications of the paper could include the more widespread use of the CVF within the public sector as a tool to lead more effectively.

Originality/value

This paper adapts and extends an analytical tool that has been of high value in the private sector so that it can be used in the public sector.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Article
Publication date: 29 August 2021

Martin Quinn, João Oliveira and Alicia Santidrián

This paper aims to detail the evolution of accounting controls conveyed as written rules at the Society of Jesus from the middle of the 17th century to the present day.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to detail the evolution of accounting controls conveyed as written rules at the Society of Jesus from the middle of the 17th century to the present day.

Design/methodology/approach

An analytically structured history approach is adopted. Four “Instructions” are analysed in detail and institutional theory is used as a lens to examine influences on accounting control rules over time.

Findings

The analysis reveals that accounting control rules maintained a core stability over time but were adapted and extended according to internal and external factors. Changes to the rules were thus mostly evolutionary. Influenced by mainly external factors, over the years the rules have become more detailed and accompanied by more practical guidance.

Originality/value

This study provides an analysis of the evolution of accounting control rules at the Society of Jesus, which thus far has not been presented. It provides insights on how the rules introduced more clarity and highlights the increasing recognition of secular management control and development within the Jesuit rules.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Martin Quinn and Liz Warren

The purpose of this paper is to explore, if, similar to other management initiatives, new public management may be a repackaging of already existent concepts. Emerging in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore, if, similar to other management initiatives, new public management may be a repackaging of already existent concepts. Emerging in the 1970s and 1980s as an innovative way to manage public sector elements, new public management affected both the ownership and management of public sector companies, services and utilities. Minimal research has been undertaken previously, using historic archival sources of public entities, to explore if elements of the concept originated prior to the 1970s.

Design/methodology/approach

This research draws on archival records from a publicly owned electricity company, covering about three decades from 1946, during which a large investment project was undertaken by the company. This study draws on key tenets of what is today called new public management, examining prior research to ascertain if similar elements were present in the case organisation.

Findings

When reviewing the progress of the investment project, many of the key elements of new public management emerged, even during the early part of the project.

Originality/value

There is little historical research on the origins of new public management, and the findings here suggest that it may not be entirely new. While this does not at all invalidate existing research, it suggests that new public management may be to an extent a repackaging of previously extant techniques. This opens up possibilities for future historic research in terms of how and why it was repackaged, and also what was/was not repackaged.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 April 2017

Martin Quinn, Otman Elafi and Mark Mulgrew

This paper aims to report on a survey of medium and large Irish firms to ascertain reasons for not changing to more advanced costing techniques, namely, activity-based…

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10981

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on a survey of medium and large Irish firms to ascertain reasons for not changing to more advanced costing techniques, namely, activity-based costing (ABC). Developments in technology and recent poor economic conditions would suggest that the technique could be adopted more by firms, as they make increased efforts to keep costs under control.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey instrument was used to gather data drawing from the top 1,000 Irish firms. From a useable population of 821 organisations, a response rate of 20.75 per cent was achieved.

Findings

Findings show a rate of adoption of ABC of 18.7 per cent, which is lower than previous studies in an Irish context. The level of information technology in firms is not a key factor for non-adoption. Instead, the main reasoning for non-adoption revolve around stable existing costing methods, which firms expressed satisfaction with.

Originality/value

This research suggests the adoption of ABC is not necessarily driven by external factors such as technology and economic shocks, at least in the context of Ireland. It also suggests that costing techniques may be deeply embedded within organisations and are less likely to be subject to change.

Details

PSU Research Review, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2399-1747

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2019

Alonso Moreno, Michael John Jones and Martin Quinn

The purpose of this paper is to longitudinally analyse the evolution of multiple narrative textual characteristics in the chairman’s statements of Guinness from 1948 to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to longitudinally analyse the evolution of multiple narrative textual characteristics in the chairman’s statements of Guinness from 1948 to 1996, with the aim of studying impression management influences. It attempts to contribute insights on impression management over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper attempts to contribute to external accounting communication literature, by building on the socio-psychological tradition within the functionalist-behavioural transmission perspective. The paper analyses multiple textual characteristics (positive, negative, tentative, future and external references, length, numeric references and first person pronouns) over 49 years and their potential relationship to profitability. Other possible disclosure drivers are also controlled.

Findings

The findings show that Guinness consistently used qualitative textual characteristics with a self-serving bias, but did not use those with a more quantitative character. Continual profits achieved by the company, and the high corporate/personal reputation of the company/chairpersons, inter alia, may well explain limited evidence of impression management associated with quantitative textual characteristics. The context appears related to the evolution of the broad communication pattern.

Practical implications

Impression management is likely to be present in some form in corporate disclosures of most companies, not only those companies with losses. If successful, financial reporting quality may be undermined and capital misallocations may result. Companies with a high public exposure such as those with a high reputation or profitability may use impression management in a different way.

Originality/value

Studies analysing multiple textual characteristics in corporate narratives tend to focus on different companies in a single year, or in two consecutive years. This study analyses multiple textual characteristics over many consecutive years. It also gives an original historical perspective, by studying how impression management relates to its context, as demonstrated by a unique data set. In addition, by using the same company, the possibility that different corporate characteristics between companies will affect results is removed. Moreover, Guinness, a well-known international company, was somewhat unique as it achieved continual profits.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 14 December 2017

Liz Warren, Martin Quinn and Gerhard Kristandl

This paper aims to explore the increasing role of financialisation on investment decisions in the power generation industry in Great Britain (GB). Such decisions affect…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the increasing role of financialisation on investment decisions in the power generation industry in Great Britain (GB). Such decisions affect society, and the relative role of financialisation in these macro-levels decisions has not been explored from a historical perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on historical material and interview data. Specifically, we use an approach inspired by institutional sociology drawing on elements of Scott’s (2014) pillars of institutions. Applying concepts stemming from regulative and normative pressures, we explore changes in investments over the analysis period to determine forces which institutionalised practices – such as accounting – into investment in power generation.

Findings

Investments in electricity generation have different levels of public and private participation. However, the common logics that underpin such investment practices provide an important understanding of political-economics and institutional change in the UK. Thus, the heightened use of accounting in investment has been, to some extent, a contributory factor to the power supply problems now faced by the British public.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to prior literature on the effects of financialisation on society, adding power generation/energy supply to the many societal level issues already explored. It also provides brief but unique insights into the changing nature of the role of accounting in an industry sector over an extended timeframe.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Stephen Jollands and Martin Quinn

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Irish Government mobilised accounting concepts to assist in implementing domestic water billing. While such is commonplace…

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1420

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Irish Government mobilised accounting concepts to assist in implementing domestic water billing. While such is commonplace in other jurisdictions and is generally accepted as necessary to sustain a water supply, previous attempts were unsuccessful and a political hot potato.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use an actor-network theory inspired approach. Specifically, the concepts of calculative spaces and their “otherness” to non-calculative spaces are used to analyse how accounting concepts were mobilised and the effects they had in the introduction of domestic water billing. The authors utilise publically available documents such as legislation, programmes for government, regulator publications, media reports and parliamentary records in the analysis over the period from 1983 to late 2014.

Findings

The analysis highlights how the implementation of domestic water billing involved the assembling of many divergent actors including the mobilisation of accounting concepts. Specifically the concept of “cost” became a contested entity. The government mobilised it in a conventional way to represent the resourcing of the water supply. Countering this, domestic water users associated “cost” with a direct impact on their own resources and lives. Thus, an entity usually associated with the economic realm was embroiled in political processes, with much of what they were supposed to represent becoming invisible. Thus the authors observed accounting concepts being mobilised to support the gaining of a specific political ends, the implementation of domestic billing, rather than as part of the means to implement a sustainable water supply within Ireland.

Research limitations/implications

This research has some limitations, one being the authors draw on secondary data. However, the research does provide a detailed base from which to continue to study a new water utility over time.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates the complications that can occur when accounting concepts are associated with gaining of a political ends rather than as a means in the process of trying to achieve a sustainable water supply. Further, the process saw the creation of a new utility, which is a rare occurrence in the developed world, and a water utility even more so; this study demonstrates the role accounting concepts can have in this creation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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