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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

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2010

Hanne Nørreklit, Lennart Nørreklit and Falconer Mitchell

The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework (pragmatic constructivism) for a new paradigm for accounting practice. The paradigmatic base of practice is an…

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4464

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework (pragmatic constructivism) for a new paradigm for accounting practice. The paradigmatic base of practice is an important element in explaining, understanding, justifying and defending practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is designed to argue the case for the use of pragmatic constructivism as a basis for the development of a paradigmatic foundation of accounting practice. To achieve this, pragmatic constructivism is explained and its application to accounting is illustrated and contrasted with the traditional paradigm of realism.

Findings

The analysis shows how the use of a less reductionist paradigm than realism can assist accountants both in the creation of a rationale and a defence for practice.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is exploratory in the sense that a new paradigmatic framework is outlined and used to illustrate its potential to develop a paradigm for practice. The creation of a full practice paradigm for accounting is beyond the scope of one paper. Hence this analysis should be viewed as only a first step towards developing a paradigm of accounting practice.

Originality/value

The proposal of pragmatic constructivism for this purpose is novel to the accounting literature. The value of its application lies in its potential to explain and defend accounting practice.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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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.

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1562

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Daniela Pianezzi and Lino Cinquini

This paper aims to focus on accounting for human rights. It explores the validity of conflicting theoretical perspectives on accounting and their ability to reduce the gap…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on accounting for human rights. It explores the validity of conflicting theoretical perspectives on accounting and their ability to reduce the gap between accounting and accountability for human rights.

Design/methodology/approach

This study relies on the notion of topos to develop a pragmatic constructivist perspective on conventional accounting and social accounting with respect to human rights. Applying pragmatic constructivism permits a better understanding and assessment of the ethics underpinning the conventional and social accounting approaches.

Findings

The ethics underpinning the topos of conventional accounting offer a reductive explanation of the agency of organizational actors, so inhibiting moral and social responsibility. Furthermore, the calculative logic that dominates this topos promotes a monovocal form of communication (to shareholders) and translates values per se into instrumental values. By contrast, the social accounting topos sheds new light on the role that accounting may play in detecting human rights violations, by focusing more on communication and social values. However, for this topos to be valid, alternative management practices that go beyond voluntary social reporting need to be further developed.

Originality/value

Human rights accountability is an urgent challenge for companies in today’s society. However, scholars have largely disregarded the role of accounting in the process of holding companies accountable for human rights violations. By questioning the relationship between accounting and human rights, this paper takes a first step towards resolving this issue.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2010

Hanne Nørreklit, Lennart Nørreklit and Falconer Mitchell

The purpose of this paper is to provide a response to a comment written by Richard Laughlin on a previous paper by the authors, which appeared in Accounting, Auditing &

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2322

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a response to a comment written by Richard Laughlin on a previous paper by the authors, which appeared in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Volume 23 Number 6.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper addresses three issues central to the analysis of the comment on their past paper.

Findings

In addressing each of the issues in turn the authors clarify their analysis.

Originality/value

The paper provides an argument for the development of a paradigm for accounting practice derived from the use of pragmatic constructivism.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2014

Hanne Nørreklit

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how the quality of Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management (QRAM) is manifested through the conceptualization of…

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1445

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how the quality of Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management (QRAM) is manifested through the conceptualization of knowledge about functioning actions that are applicable for local management accounting practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on language game theory and pragmatic constructivism, the paper analyzes the “practice doing” embedded in key language games of the case descriptions of three articles on intra-organizational buyer-supplier relations published in QRAM with the aim of revealing how they contribute to the development of a performativity in management accounting topos that integrates facts, possibilities, values and communication.

Findings

The analysis documents that the three QRAM articles on inter-organizational cost management make a common contribution to the knowledge related to what to do to make functional actions within the practice of inter-organizational cost management. Together, the articles provide conceptual rigour with a complexity in content that can encompass the four dimensions of integration.

Research limitations/implications

In providing a framework for analyzing practice relevance, the paper has implications for contemporary discussions on doing research that is relevant for practice.

Originality/value

The paper provides novel insight into the analysis of quality in management accounting research. Additionally, it provides a framework for reflecting on the accumulation of practice-relevant knowledge and identifying areas requiring more research.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2009

Mark Bevir

This paper offers a constructivist theory of governance. It begins by challenging rational choice and institutionalist accounts for neglecting meanings. If we are to take…

Abstract

This paper offers a constructivist theory of governance. It begins by challenging rational choice and institutionalist accounts for neglecting meanings. If we are to take meanings seriously, we need to allow for the constructed nature of governance − governance depends on concepts that are themselves in part products of wider webs of belief. The rest of the paper argues, first, that constructivism is compatible with various forms of realism, and, second, that constructivism is strengthened by recognition of situated agency.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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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…

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1324

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

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2014

Morten Jakobsen and Rainer Lueg

This paper aims to analyse how the inherent design of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) violates the controllability principle. The management control literature provides…

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1764

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse how the inherent design of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) violates the controllability principle. The management control literature provides convincing examples of actors who breach controllability without intention. This discussion was extended by the example of the BSC. This paper focusses on the breaches that occur when actors lack the awareness or the skills to re-enforce controllability.

Design/methodology/approach

Taking a pragmatic-constructivist position, analytical and empirical evidence was included on controllability to analyse the normative literature on the BSC.

Findings

It was found that the BSC causes several unintended breaches of the controllability principle at the level of middle managers, both ex ante (control rationale) and ex post (fairness rationale). These breaches are not only situational or induced by how managers in the field design a BSC. They appear to be inherent in the BSC due to the way Kaplan and Norton have conceptualised it.

Practical implications

Practitioners are alerted that the intuitive appeal of popular management fashions such as the BSC covers their conceptual flaws. It was also proposed that failed implementations and dysfunctional applications can be due to the inherent characteristics of the concepts themselves.

Originality/value

This paper contributes by uncovering the unintended violations of the controllability principle by the inherent characteristics. The authors suggest using our conceptual contribution to conduct empirical research on the issues of controllability and management control systems in general. Thereby, the theory-based discussion on the BSC is advanced (Nørreklit, 2000, 2003; Nørreklit et al., 2012a).

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

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