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Article

Rob Stones and Lisa Jack

The purpose of this paper is to share interdisciplinary ideas about the purpose of social theory in empirical research.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to share interdisciplinary ideas about the purpose of social theory in empirical research.

Design/methodology/approach

The formal interview took place in front of an audience at the Strong Structuration Theory and Management Research workshop at IAE de Paris, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, on 10 May 2016. A recording was made, transcribed, and then edited. Elements from a recorded lecture on the same day are also included. A conversational format is retained to enhance the sense of interdisciplinary dialogue that characterises the research project.

Findings

The use of SST as a conceptual methodology is explained, and the use of agent’s conduct and agent’s context analyses is elucidated providing pointers regarding how accounting research can be developed further by basing the analysis in an understanding of the status and adequacy of knowledge on which people act to produce and reproduce structure.

Originality/value

The value of the interview is to provide insights into the process of empirical research and conceptualisation, which are likely to be particularly helpful for early career researchers.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Orla Feeney and Bernard Pierce

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of accounting information in new product development (NPD) using Strong Structuration Theory. NPD is a complex social…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of accounting information in new product development (NPD) using Strong Structuration Theory. NPD is a complex social action involving a wide range of different actors and clusters of actors. Strong Structuration Theory allows the authors to take a broad view of this social system in order to develop a complete picture of the clusters of actors involved, to comprehensively examine the relevant structures, both internal and external, and to understand how these are formed, reformed or modified through the actions of agents.

Design/methodology/approach

A field study of the manufacturing division of a large group was conducted which explored how managers use accounting information during NPD. Examining how these managers draw upon their conjuncturally specific structures of signification, legitimation and domination, and how these are affected by their external structural conditions and their general dispositional frames of meaning, allowed the authors to develop an in-depth understanding of the managers’ behaviour during NPD.

Findings

These findings suggest that the managers’ use of accounting information is determined as much by the subjective nature of the managers themselves as it is by the objective characteristics of the structures with which they interact. By using Stones’ composite research strategy, which encourages the authors to conceive of internal structures as always looking outwards and external structures as always looking inwards, the findings help the authors to understand the “connecting tissue” between the different elements of the quadripartite of structuration which has been lacking in previous research in the area. This understanding of the connecting tissue between structures was facilitated by the micro-analysis of six managers within a given conjuncture. Using the concept of the agent-in-focus as a tool with which to switch lenses from manager to manager acknowledged the web-like interdependencies between different processes of structuration. This allowed an exploration of the relationships between the various agents and structures.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the understanding of Stones’ Strong Structuration Theory at both an ontological and methodological level by operationalising Stones’ model in a case study setting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Ahmed Othman Rashwan Kholeif and Lisa Jack

This paper aims to use Stones’ strong structuration theory (SST) that combines Giddens’ duality and Archer’s analytical dualism to deal with the paradox of embedded…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to use Stones’ strong structuration theory (SST) that combines Giddens’ duality and Archer’s analytical dualism to deal with the paradox of embedded agency, focussing on resistance, in the budgeting literature. It also applies this framework to an illustrative case study that examines a failed attempt to implement performance-based budgeting (PBB) in the Egyptian Sales Tax Department (ESTD).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have used SST as an analytical framework. Longitudinal case study data were collected from interviews, observations, discussions and documentary analysis and from publicly available reports and other media issued by the World Bank.

Findings

The SST framework identifies the circumstances in which middle managers as embedded agency have limited possibilities to change their dispositions to act and identify opportunities for emancipation in the wider social context in which they are embedded. The official explanation for the failure to implement PBB in Egypt was obstruction by middle managers. The findings of this study provide an alternative explanation to that published by the World Bank for the failure to institutionalise PBB in Egypt. It was found that the middle managers were the real supporters of PBB. Other parties and existing laws and regulations contributed to the failure of PBB.

Research limitations/implications

As a practical implication of the study, the analysis presented here offers an alternative interpretation of the failure of the Egyptian project for monitoring and evaluation to that published by the World Bank. This case and similar cases may enhance the understanding of how and when monitoring and evaluation technologies should be introduced at the global level to manage conflicts of interest between agencies and beneficiaries.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the extant management accounting literature on the use of ST in addressing the paradox of embedded agency in making or resisting structural change. It uses SST to integrate Giddens’ ST with critical realist theory, incorporating duality and dualism in a stronger model of structuration. The SST framework offers a means of analysing case studies that result from interactions and conjunctures between different groups of actors at different ontological levels. The paper also examines the issue of embedded agency in budgeting research using an illustrative case study from a developing country, Egypt.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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Article

Alan Coad, Lisa Jack and Ahmed Kholeif

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the interdisciplinary use of strong structuration theory and consider the impact of this for accounting research. The paper also…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the interdisciplinary use of strong structuration theory and consider the impact of this for accounting research. The paper also provides an overview of the contributions advanced by the other papers in this special issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws together and identifies key issues and themes related to the rapidly evolving interdisciplinary use of strong structuration theory and considers the relevance of these issues to accounting research.

Findings

The paper highlights that there is a growing use of strong structuration theory in a number of disciplines, such as in healthcare, learning studies, management, migration studies and childcare as well as in accounting. Within the accounting discipline, whilst the interest began in management accounting and control, there are ongoing studies of the not-for-profit sector, social and environmental accounting, financial reporting standards and audit. Using strong structuration theory, researchers are more interested in the people (individually or collectively) and their analysis of their conduct and context. They are moving forwards from an overly static use of the quadripartite framework to a more dynamic approach that also includes the other important central elements of strong structuration that focus on the issue of agency in situ rather than on structure cut off from agency.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides important insights into emerging issues and developments in strong structuration theory that have clear relevance to accounting research and practice as well as other disciplines.

Originality/value

This paper, and other contributions to this special issue of AAAJ, provide a basis and a research agenda for accounting scholars seeking to undertake empirical research using Stones’ strong structuration theory.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Naif Adel Haddad, Leen Adeeb Fakhoury and Talal S. Akasheh

Ancient theatres and odea are one of the most significant and creative socio-cultural edutainment centres of human history that are still in use. They stood and served as…

Abstract

Purpose

Ancient theatres and odea are one of the most significant and creative socio-cultural edutainment centres of human history that are still in use. They stood and served as huge multi-functional structures for social, religious, propaganda and political meeting space. Meanwhile, ancient theatres’ sites have an intrinsic value for all people, and as a vital basis for cultural diversity, social and economic development, they should continue to be a source of information for future generations. Though, all places with ancient theatre heritage should be assessed as to their potential risk from any anthropogenic or natural process. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The main paper’s objective is to discuss mainly the anthropogenic and technical risks, vulnerability and impact issues on the ancient classical theatres. While elaborating on relevant recent studies, where the authors were involved in ERATO and ATHENA European projects for ancient theatres and odea, this paper provides a brief overview of the main aspects of the anthropogenic qualitative risks and related issues for selected classical antiquity theatres. Some relevant cases are critically presented and investigated in order to examine and clarify the main risk mitigation issues as an essential prerequisite for theatre heritage preservation and its interface with heritage reuse.

Findings

Theatre risk mitigation is an ongoing and challenging task. By preventive conservation, theatre anthropogenic qualitative risks’ management can provide a framework for decision making. The needed related guidelines and recommendations that provide a systematic approach for sustainable management and planning in relation mainly to “ancient theatre compatible use” and “theatre technical risks” are analysed and presented. This is based on identification, classification and assessment of the theatre risk causes and contributing factors and their mitigation.

Originality/value

The paper also suggests a new methodological approach for the theatre anthropogenic qualitative risk assessment and mitigation management, and develop some recommendations that provide a systematic approach for theatre site managers and heritage experts to understand, assess, and mitigate risks mainly due to anthropogenic and technical threats.

Details

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1266

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Article

Alan Coad, Lisa Jack and Ahmed Othman Rashwan Kholeif

– This paper aims to examine the potential of strong structuration theory in management accounting research.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the potential of strong structuration theory in management accounting research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explains how the ontological perspective of strong structuration theory extends the work of Giddens and explores how the perspective overcomes a number of the limitations of existing management accounting research based on structuration theory.

Findings

Strong structuration theory develops and extends the work of Giddens, providing greater insights into the role of agents, improves our understanding of the diffusion of accounting practices through organisational fields, adds to our knowledge of how artefacts are used in the production and reproduction of organisational life and improves research design.

Research limitations/implications

Strong structuration theory provides clear guidance about management accounting case study research design, and suggests the potential for the accounting research community to engage more actively in debates about the development of structuration theory beyond the work of Giddens.

Originality/value

This paper provides a clear explanation of the ontology of strong structuration theory, its implications for research design and how it holds the potential to overcome many of the limitations of earlier management accounting studies deploying structuration theory.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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Article

Khaldoon Al-Htaybat

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the change of the Jordanian corporate reporting requirements in 1998. The reasons as to why International Financial Reporting…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the change of the Jordanian corporate reporting requirements in 1998. The reasons as to why International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) were adopted in Jordan are outlined on the basis of strong structuration theory’s (SST) quadripartite structure.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is interpretive, as perceptions of the study’s participants are analysed regarding the adoption of IFRS in emerging economies. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to collect Jordanian experts’ perceptions. The study uses elements of Stones’ strong structuration to illustrate and analyse the current study’s data.

Findings

The analysis illustrated that various elements pushed for the adoption of IFRS in Jordan – external structures that cause adoption of IFRS are the Gulf War and the immediate impact this had on Jordan. The internal structures seek to adopt new regulation in order to protect and support the Jordanian economy, which is part of agents-in-focus’ dispositions, and gain foreign direct investment. Agents-in-focus found that some corporations comprehended the needs of external investors, thus, sought to provide such information voluntarily.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this paper is the number of participants, which for future studies needs to be considered.

Practical implications

Reasons as to why new regulation is adopted are illustrated, which can support other countries seeking to do adopt new corporate reporting rules.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the sparse body of studies using SST in financial accounting. It is also one of the few studies investigating the change of regulation and the reasons for this adoption in the Middle Eastern and Jordanian context, in an interpretive study.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

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Article

Lyn Daff and Lisa Jack

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the importance of accountants’ networks inside organisations, the parties who comprise those networks and how…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the importance of accountants’ networks inside organisations, the parties who comprise those networks and how accountants go about building and maintaining their networks. It also illustrates the use of strong structuration theory, which specifically considers the networks that surround agents. The theoretical discussion highlights the significance of communication as agency in the context of accounting practice through a strong structuration perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach to the inquiry was adopted. Interviews were conducted with 30 Australian accountants from 22 not-for-profit organisations. A thematic approach was used to analyse the transcripts. Structuration theory, supplemented by strong structuration, informed the study.

Findings

The interviewees attested to the importance of communication and developing networks within their organisations. They actively sought to expand and enhance their networks. The accountants played a pivotal role in networks and they pursued both horizontal and vertical relations. The accountants’ knowledge of organisational positions and perceptions of their own roles were used strategically in attempts to alter the internal structures of networked others.

Research limitations/implications

The interviewed accountants worked in not-for-profit organisations and this may influence the findings. Future research might consider accountants working in for-profit organisations. The study provides insights into strategies to develop intra-organisational networks.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the meagre literature regarding accountants’ networks within organisations. It provides insights that may assist accountants in enhancing their own networks. Although structuration theory is well-established in accounting research, the enrichments offered by strong structuration are illustrated in this study.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Georgios Makrygiannakis and Lisa Jack

The purpose of this paper is to explore the application of social theory as conceptual methodology in the design of case study research.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the application of social theory as conceptual methodology in the design of case study research.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examine how social theory can be used to design case study research when the choice of theory is made before or during the empirical enquiry. Rather than simply presenting the elements of design, the focus is on the ways the elements relate and connect to each other, i.e. how a researcher can design each step to facilitate the work that needs to be done in the others.

Findings

A circular research design starts and finishes with the theory. The conceptual tools that social theories offer can be used to guide researchers into the empirical field and out of it. A conceptually driven design facilitates the interconnection between the various steps of a research project and can keep theory, research problem and data closely connected.

Research limitations/implications

There is a role for systematic research design in interpretative case studies in management accounting and control. Although this paper uses strong structuration theory, the circular design proposed can be applied for other social theories and methodologies where an abductive approach is appropriate.

Originality/value

There are very few papers that explicitly demonstrate the implications of research design choices in case study research. In particular, the authors contribute to discussions on the conduct of interpretative research in management control and demonstrate that, especially for structuration theory, a conceptual methodology approach to research design, data collection and analysis can lead to theoretical insight.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

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Book part

Emily Baker and Freya Jarman

In this chapter, we argue that the four songs we hear on 3rd April 2016 serve as both background music and a means of revealing the inner world of Helen and Rob.

Abstract

In this chapter, we argue that the four songs we hear on 3rd April 2016 serve as both background music and a means of revealing the inner world of Helen and Rob.

Details

Custard, Culverts and Cake
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-285-7

Keywords

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