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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2020

Michela Arnaboldi, Andrea Robbiani and Paola Carlucci

Nearly 40 years since they first appeared, there is renewed interest in dashboards, engendered by the diffusion of business intelligence (BI) desktop software, such as…

Abstract

Purpose

Nearly 40 years since they first appeared, there is renewed interest in dashboards, engendered by the diffusion of business intelligence (BI) desktop software, such as Power BI, QlikView and Tableau, denoted collectively as “self-service” BI. Using these commodity software tools, the work to construct dashboards apparently becomes easier and more manageable and no longer requires the intervention of specialists. This paper aims to analyse the implementation of this kind of commodity dashboard in a university, exploring its role in performance management processes and investigating whether the dashboard affects the organisation (or not).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper focusses on an action research project developed by the authors, where the objective was to design and implement a dynamic performance measurement tool fitting the needs of department directors. The three authors were all involved in the project, respectively, as project manager, dashboard implementation manager and accounting manager of the studied organisation.

Findings

The results reveal a specific but complex change to the procedures and outcomes in the organisation studied, where the dashboard becomes a boundary infrastructure, thereby reviving technical and organisational problems that had been latent for years.

Originality/value

In this paper, the authors contribute to the debate on the digital age and the role of accounting with their exploration into the “revolution” of self-service BI tools. The democratisation and flexibility of these instruments put into discussion two core and somewhat controversial functions of accounting: data integration and personalised reporting.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Michela Arnaboldi, Cristiano Busco and Suresh Cuganesan

The purpose of this paper is to outline an agenda for researching the relationship between technology-enabled networks – such as social media and big data – and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline an agenda for researching the relationship between technology-enabled networks – such as social media and big data – and the accounting function. In doing so, it links the contents of an unfolding area research with the papers published in this special issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper surveys the existing literature, which is still in its infancy, and proposes ways in which to frame early and future research. The intention is not to offer a comprehensive review, but to stimulate and conversation.

Findings

The authors review several existing studies exploring technology-enabled networks and highlight some of the key aspects featuring social media and big data, before offering a classification of existing research efforts, as well as opportunities for future research. Three areas of investigation are identified: new performance indicators based on social media and big data; governance of social media and big data information resources; and, finally, social media and big data’s alteration of information and decision-making processes.

Originality/value

The authors are currently experiencing a technological revolution that will fundamentally change the way in which organisations, as well as individuals, operate. It is claimed that many knowledge-based jobs are being automated, as well as others transformed with, for example, data scientists ready to replace even the most qualified accountants. But, of course, similar claims have been made before and therefore, as academics, the authors are called upon to explore the impact of these technology-enabled networks further. This paper contributes by starting a debate and speculating on the possible research agendas ahead.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Deborah Agostino, Michela Arnaboldi and Martina Dal Molin

Public networks studies have widely diffused in recent years, but scant attention has been devoted to network change. By endorsing the notion of critical crossroads to…

Abstract

Purpose

Public networks studies have widely diffused in recent years, but scant attention has been devoted to network change. By endorsing the notion of critical crossroads to describe a crucial turning point for the network survival, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why a goal-directed network changes, considering both the benefits and the constraints of the change.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a longitudinal case study based upon an interventionist research approach (Jönsson and Lukka, 2006), with the researchers being immersed in the network life of a group of Italian public universities over a period of 17 years.

Findings

This paper proposes an empirical derived framework about network evolution that identifies two different types of crossroads (i.e. resource-driven crossroads and management driven) as drivers for network evolution. The main determinant behind these crisis situation were found in the heterogeneity of the network actors and, while overcoming the crossroads, informal sub-networks were found emerging.

Originality/value

This study enlarges current public network literature by focusing specifically on how and why networks change, an aspect underinvestigated by current literature.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Michela Arnaboldi, Irvine Lapsley and Martina Dal Molin

This paper aims to examine the trajectory of public management reforms in Italy. This experience indicates the complexity of managerialism in countries with a legalistic…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the trajectory of public management reforms in Italy. This experience indicates the complexity of managerialism in countries with a legalistic system and where public administration cultures have been, and continue to be, embedded in politics.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis of managerial reforms in Italy was carried out with a documentary analysis. In addition to official reports and acts of parliament, the analysis was based on monitoring the government websites and innovative channels (e.g. Facebook) which communicated the progress of the later reforms.

Findings

The paper shows how modernization of public services has been a continuous priority in the agenda of the Italian Government across four phases: an early attempt in the late 1970s; a lively, phase for Italian managerial reforms in the 1990s; a later advocacy in the 2000s of a specific new public management (NPM) element – performance management; an after-crises reform aimed at reducing public expenditure.

Originality/value

The paper takes a historical and long-term perspective to analyse the success and failure of NPM reforms implementation in Italy. Differently from previous studies, this papers analyses NPM reforms in a longitudinal perspective, to show how the legalistic culture of Italy continues to affect the implementation of NPM reforms.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Michela Arnaboldi, Giovanni Azzone and Yulia Sidorova

The purpose of this paper is to explore the processes whereby organisational actors can seize the opportunities opened up through social media, and the way in which the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the processes whereby organisational actors can seize the opportunities opened up through social media, and the way in which the relative information is managed. This allows these actors to move their occupational boundaries, exploiting the information for performance measurement purposes. The investigation was carried out within an organisational setting, where most occupational dynamics take place. The focus was on the role of artefacts within these occupational dynamics and the analysis drew upon the notion of boundary objects.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was based on case studies involving two organisations that make use of social media within and across several departments. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with social media managers, department managers, analysts and financial controllers and senior executives. The results of the qualitative analysis of the interviews were completed with secondary sources of information, company reports, communications, public policies, codes of conduct and social media platform analyses.

Findings

This paper has implications for accounting studies, showing how marketing and communications managers entering the field of performance management can take the lead in social media management by collecting information from social media, constructing indicators and gaining ground in several decision-making centres. The findings highlight the role of new artefacts and organisational roles, whose purpose is to build a digital community. This process involves crossing the boundaries between internal functions and the inside and outside environment, with a driving phenomenon becoming visible: hybridisation. Faced with this change, reluctant accountants with a traditional mindset are more likely to observe the process at a distance, focusing more on their routine operations based on conventional data.

Originality/value

This paper shows that information derived from social media is already a reality that has gained significance through the construction of boundary objects. The paper highlights a driving phenomenon that is emerging in the surge to occupy the organisational terrain for controlling social media: that of hybridisation. The concept of hybridisation is not new in management accounting studies, but in this study can be applied to carrying out a joint analysis on both the boundary objects and their organisational trajectory. In the context of social media accounting, hybridisation is of central importance if both actors and objects are to be effectively positioned at its boundary.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 23 September 2013

Deborah Agostino, Marika Arena and Michela Arnaboldi

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the trajectory of an institutional change in a public organisation, this study explores the role of organisational mediators – i.e…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the trajectory of an institutional change in a public organisation, this study explores the role of organisational mediators – i.e. middle managers involved in the enactment of change projects - to translate leaders’ entrepreneurial attempts of modernisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Enlightened by an institutional perspective, the research is carried out through a single case study in a major Italian Court House. The empirical evidence relies on various sources of information: archival data, documentation, observation and 42 face-to-face interviews.

Findings

The research outlines the heterogeneity of mediators’ approaches and the diverse effectiveness in translating leaders’ ideas. Three approaches are evidenced: instrumental leader-driven, conformant leader-driven, rhetorical individual-driven. These archtypes are compared in term of characteristics and contribution to mediate the symbolic realm of new ideas and the technical realm of everyday working activities.

Practical implications

The identification of the importance and characteristics of organisational mediators provide insights for leaders in choosing the most appropriate figures to carry out change projects.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the importance of more operational figures (mediators), and their characteristics, in pursuing change in the public sector. Mediators become essential organisational translators to bridge the gap between strategic leaders ideas and employees working reality.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 34 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2014

Marika Arena and Michela Arnaboldi

This paper aims to provide a critical assessment of existing links between risk management systems (RMS) and performance management systems (PMS) through a general review…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a critical assessment of existing links between risk management systems (RMS) and performance management systems (PMS) through a general review of the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The research approach consists of a literature review, aimed at highlighting the “points of contact” between RMS and PMS along three main dimensions: scope of the system, measurement and ownership.

Findings

Key papers and books published in the field are examined. Based on this review, an assessment of similarities and potential synergies between RMS and PMS is offered. In addition, possible avenues for future research are discussed.

Practical implications

The paper provides managers with useful insights on pros and cons of integrating RMS and PMS. It highlights possible instruments and organizational arrangements that could be exploited by practitioners to connect the two systems and discusses the implications of different possible configurations.

Originality/value

Whilst the professional literature is loaded with illustrations of RMS and PMS as “integrated” solutions, this issue has been only partially addressed by the academic literature that generally focuses on one of the two systems. Hence, the study overall contributes to enrich the knowledge of the relationship between performance and risk management by mapping how and where the two systems are linked.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2010

Michela Arnaboldi and Irvine Lapsley

The purpose of this paper is to examine asset management in three cities. It is informed by polyphony as a theoretical perspective and draws on the fact‐building process…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine asset management in three cities. It is informed by polyphony as a theoretical perspective and draws on the fact‐building process to explore the practice of asset management in these study settings.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative case study approach was adopted to have a broader understanding of the levels of complexity in the study of polyphony in asset management. With this aim, the three Scottish cities were analysed presenting a spectrum of city types.

Findings

The paper finds evidence of polyphony. The three cases show different degrees of controversies and achievements, providing a highly variegated picture of the effectiveness in pursuing an asset management policy.

Originality/value

Polyphony recognises the many voices of actors present in organisations. This perspective on asset management is an important, but relatively neglected facet of this aspect of city management. The paper provides an insight in this, showing the potential for the multiple voices of the many different actors within local government, all of whom may have distinct views on asset utilisation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2011

Deborah Agostino and Michela Arnaboldi

This paper has the aim of understanding how the reasons behind the adoption of the balanced scorecard (BSC) and the approaches undertaken during the entire change process…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper has the aim of understanding how the reasons behind the adoption of the balanced scorecard (BSC) and the approaches undertaken during the entire change process influence the outcome, both in terms of BSC structure and use.

Design/methodology/approach

The research studies the BSC change process and its use, adopting a multiple case study methodology which has been conducted in seven medium‐to‐large Italian non‐financial companies. The results have been analysed from an institutional perspective, considering the management accounting change process and its outcome not only as a technical problem, but also as a broader organizational issue.

Findings

The results show the interdependence between the change process, which is influenced by organizational forces, and its outcome. Different reasons for the adoption and different approaches in the design and implementation give rise to different BSC structures and styles of use.

Research limitations/implications

The case study methodology that has been adopted does not allow the results to be generalized. Further research is needed to examine the BSC change process in order to support the findings.

Practical implications

The findings could help managers decide when to introduce the BSC. Depending on how they use the device, they could become aware of the most suitable approach to adopt during the change process, a key feature in translating techniques into practice.

Originality/value

The paper explains the reasons behind the high fluidity of practice, considering the approach adopted during the management accounting change process.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 60 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Marika Arena, Michela Arnaboldi and Giovanni Azzone

To describe the main characteristics of Internal Audit Departments in six Italian companies and investigate the influence of enacted regulations on their development.

Abstract

Purpose

To describe the main characteristics of Internal Audit Departments in six Italian companies and investigate the influence of enacted regulations on their development.

Design/methodology/approach

The research has been carried out through a multiple case study, which compared the Internal Audit Departments of six Italian companies, gathering evidence by interviews with chief internal auditors, by obtaining examples of internal audit reports, policy documents and corporate briefing notes.

Findings

The range of situations considered highlighted the diversity in Internal Audit Department characteristics, confirming the relevance of institutional pressures, but also providing evidence of the influence of additional elements in their development.

Research limitations/implications

Results provided by this research cannot be regarded as generally applicable or generalizable, although this study should contribute to the development of a deeper understanding of the characteristics of Internal Audit Departments.

Practical implications

This paper highlights some elements which can influence the development of Internal Audit Department characteristics, with a focus on value added activities.

Originality/value

This paper has referred to institutional theory to examine the development of Internal Audit Departments and provides a valuable framework for future research. Further it provides evidence of different structural characteristics and factors which can influence companies' choices in the development and support of their Internal Audit Departments.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

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