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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Jane Broadbent and Richard Laughlin

There has been considerable interest in the theory and practice of organisation change. Similarly there has been a great deal of attention given to the processes that lead…

Abstract

There has been considerable interest in the theory and practice of organisation change. Similarly there has been a great deal of attention given to the processes that lead to and result from accounting change within organisations. There has also been a more limited interest in the interaction and interrelationship between these two literatures. In this paper we explore these different literatures and provide a perspective on this extensive research. The contents are not intended to be a systematic summary of this voluminous literature but rather a recounting of our own views on how we have engaged with this material, as a precursor to thoughts on a future research agenda for these important issues. The paper starts by posing four questions related to organisational and accounting change, the answers to which circumscribe how these themes can be approached theoretically and empirically. Based on our answers to these questions we then move into perspectives on understanding organisations, understanding organisational change and understanding accounting change within an organisational change context. From this analysis the paper concludes with some suggestions on a possible future research agenda on these important organisational issues.

Details

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

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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 &

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: 3 May 2013

Vassili Joannidès and Nicolas Berland

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the sociology‐of‐science type of accounting literature, addressing how accounting knowledge is established, advanced and extended.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the sociology‐of‐science type of accounting literature, addressing how accounting knowledge is established, advanced and extended.

Design/methodology/approach

The research question is answered through the example of research into linkages between accounting and religion. Adopting an actor‐network theory (ANT) approach, the paper follows the actors involved in the construction of accounting as an academic discipline through the controversies in which they engage to develop knowledge.

Findings

The paper reveals that accounting knowledge is established, advanced and developed through the ongoing mobilisation of nonhumans (journals) who can enrol other humans and nonhumans. It shows that knowledge advancement, establishment and development is more contingent on network breadth than on research paradigms, which appear as side‐effects of positioning vis‐à‐vis a community.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper is twofold. First, ANT is applied to accounting knowledge, whereas the accounting literature applies it to the spread of management accounting ideas, methods and practices. Second, an original methodology for data collection is developed by inviting authors from the network to give a reflexive account of their writings at the time they joined the network. Well diffused in sociology and philosophy, such an approach is, albeit, original in accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Jane Broadbent and Richard Laughlin

Engages with the call for more case study research and provides an example of a methodology informed by a Habermasian approach. Seeks to clarify the methodology and the…

Abstract

Engages with the call for more case study research and provides an example of a methodology informed by a Habermasian approach. Seeks to clarify the methodology and the methods adopted and provides an example of “middle range” thinking (Laughlin, 1995). Extends the insights provided by Laughlin (1987) in his argument for the adoption of critical theory and can be seen as entering into a discourse with this earlier work. Located in the context of an ongoing programme of research in the UK public sector, seeks to provide an exemplar of the application of a Habermasian discourse‐based approach, as well as providing an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach in practice. In the spirit of “middle range” thinking appears to use the frameworks provided as a foundation from which to commence the research process, yet use the experiences gained in undertaking the research as a way to develop the frameworks themselves.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1998

Jane Broadbent and Richard Laughlin

The “new public management” (NPM) “reforms” have been extensive in the public sector in the UK. The paper’s primary focus is on the managerial and organizational effects…

Abstract

The “new public management” (NPM) “reforms” have been extensive in the public sector in the UK. The paper’s primary focus is on the managerial and organizational effects of these accounting and finance‐led changes in the specific context of schools and GP practices. Central to the paper’s analysis and conclusion is the way that, in both these areas, many of the changes are perceived as unhelpful, intrusive and potentially dangerous for the nature of the core activities and values which underlie these organizations. The organizational effect of this dominant attitude is to develop appropriate “absorbing” mechanisms to “manage” these changing “disturbances” so that core activities and values remain unaffected. The paper develops, in two ways, the published analyses of these absorption processes: first, by providing a comparison over time of these absorption processes in schools and GP practices using a wider data set and second, by extending the analysis to show how these processes change as the nature of the “disturbances” shift and develop over time. The paper ends with a call for a wide‐ranging evaluation of the merit and worth of these “reforms” both generally and in the specific context of schools and GP practices.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 23 September 2013

Gloria Agyemang and Bill Ryan

This chapter examines organisational change processes that occur when accountability demands from powerful external stakeholders change. It investigates, firstly, whether…

Abstract

This chapter examines organisational change processes that occur when accountability demands from powerful external stakeholders change. It investigates, firstly, whether these external accountability demands impact on the performance management systems of two different types of organisations. Secondly, it considers whether the goals for improved performance contained within the external accountability demands are realised. The chapter derives its primary insights from analysing in-depth interviews with managers working in a private sector company and in public sector organisations. The analyses reveal complex organisational responses. In the public sector case study, the organisations tended to reorient their performance management systems towards the external accountability demands; whilst in the private sector organisation, pressures from falling share prices forced managers to focus their decision making on the preferred performance measures contained in shareholders’ accountability demands. However, whilst there is some evidence of performance management system changes, the desires for improved performance subsumed by the external accountability demands are not necessarily realised through the performance management system changes.

Details

Managing Reality: Accountability and the Miasma of Private and Public Domains
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-618-8

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Garry D. Carnegie and Christopher J. Napier

The purpose of this paper is to examine the origins and development of the “Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) Community”, a flourishing international…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the origins and development of the “Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) Community”, a flourishing international interdisciplinary accounting research community. This scholarly community has emerged over some 30 years from the publication in 1988 of the inaugural issue of AAAJ under the joint editorship of James Guthrie and Lee Parker. This historical account discusses the motivation for establishing the journal and the important publishing initiatives, developments and trends across this period. The study positions the journal as a key thought leader, the catalyst for other Community activities such as the Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting conference.

Design/methodology/approach

The investigation involved a selective review of the contents of AAAJ, particularly the annual editorials published since inception, and other relevant literature, analysis of the main research themes and the most cited papers, and oral history interviews with the joint editors. The future prospects for the AAAJ Community are addressed.

Findings

The AAAJ Community has shaped and led developments in interdisciplinary accounting research. Recognised for innovation and with a reputation for nurturing scholars, AAAJ continues to grow in stature as one of the world’s leading accounting journals, challenging the status quo and fostering inclusive scholarship.

Research limitations/implications

The study does not examine the journal’s publication patterns nor assess in detail the research studies that have been published in the journal.

Originality/value

The study recognises AAAJ as central to the development of an interdisciplinary accounting research community, firmly located in the sociological, critical and interpretative tradition also associated with some other leading accounting journals.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Jane Broadbent, Kerry Jacobs and Richard Laughlin

This paper explores the resistance strategies of organisations to unwanted changes. It is concerned with the way satellite organisations are created to provide a counter…

Abstract

This paper explores the resistance strategies of organisations to unwanted changes. It is concerned with the way satellite organisations are created to provide a counter force to environmental disturbances such as changes introduced in the context of what has come to be called New Public Management. Its particular focus is with the attempt to develop and institutionalize external, “public” forms of resistance rather than undertake more internal, “private” forms. The specific empirical focus is general medical practice in the UK, where commissioning groups were formed as an alternative to GP fundholding. To help analyse this empirical detail we draw insights from Habermas’s model of society, organisational change theory and institutional theory. In the process the paper not only amplifies the empirical reactions of GP practices in the UK but also uses this empirical detail to develop the nature of this theoretical base by adding new dimensions concerning organisational resistance.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 14 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2014

Richard Laughlin

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the life of Tony Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Sheffield, who died on 5…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the life of Tony Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Sheffield, who died on 5 March 2014. It celebrates Tony Lowe’s considerable direct contributions to accounting knowledge and, possibly more significantly, his indirect contribution through his enabling of a range of those associated with him at Sheffield to become scholars of distinction in their own right.

Design/methodology/approach

Publication review, personal reflections and argument.

Findings

Apart from providing insight into Tony Lowe's direct contribution to accounting knowledge through an analysis of a range of significant sole authored and joint authored publications, the paper gives rather more attention to his more indirect enabling contribution. In this regard it traces the development of initially the Management Control Association and subsequently the “Sheffield School” to Tony Lowe, clarifying the values that underlie these groups. It also clarifies how some of the key elements that have allowed the now global Interdisciplinary and Critical Perspectives on Accounting (ICPA) Project to exist and flourish are traceable to Tony Lowe and the “Sheffield School” he created.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides an important historical analysis of the direct and indirect influence of a unique scholar on the beginnings and development of particularly the now global ICPA Project. This history is personal and maybe selective and possibly limited because of this but hopefully will encourage others to investigate the claims further.

Originality/value

The history of the ICPA Project has only partially been told before. This is another part of this history that has not been analysed before on which further work can build.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2010

Jane Broadbent, Carolyn Gallop and Richard Laughlin

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the nature of societal regulatory control systems developing an analytical framework drawing from Jurgen Habermas' notion of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the nature of societal regulatory control systems developing an analytical framework drawing from Jurgen Habermas' notion of “steering” and an understanding of “performance management systems”. It seeks to provide a conceptual language of “relational” and “transactional” approaches to regulation both generally and in relation to higher education (HE). The paper aims to illustrate that different types of regulation are related to the different contexts in which they are developed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper undertakes an in‐depth analysis of regulatory frameworks and financing at a general level and in the specific context of HE in England in order to analyse the nature of the processes of steering both empirically and conceptually. The paper ends with some evaluatory reflections on the conceptual framework and in relation to the regulatory processes of HE in the England following this change.

Findings

The paper argues that the societal regulatory requirements, of a “relational” or “transactional” form use financing as central tools of “steering”, both generally and in HE. In HE two dominant institutional steering media are identified: regional Funding Councils, (in England, the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE)) and the Research Councils (RC). Regulation of funding flows from the two bodies is described using the conceptual framework developed. HEFCE's regulations are more “relational” in nature relative to the RCs more “transactional” systems. Located in two different Government departments until June 2007, these two funding organisations were then brought together to form the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS); they are now (since June 2009) part of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (DBIS).

Originality/value

The paper provides a conceptual framework by which to understand regulation more generally and demonstrates the significance of this framework by providing new insights into the changing societal regulatory context of HE in England.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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