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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2019

Erik Strauss and Sophie Tessier

Abstract

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Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Sophie Tessier and David Otley

The purpose of this paper is to describe the dynamic development of technical controls in different companies and to interpret the observations using Van de Ven and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the dynamic development of technical controls in different companies and to interpret the observations using Van de Ven and Poole's typology of change process theories.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study data were obtained through semi‐structured interviews, observation and document analysis in three organisations (Company A, Company B and Company C).

Findings

The paper highlights the life‐cycle development of technical controls, where controls are implemented, improved and eventually removed. It highlights the fact that the progression through the life‐cycle can follow either a dialectical motor of change based on conflict or a teleological motor of change based on consensus.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the paper enhance the theory of rules developed by March et al., by providing insight into how change actually occurs, i.e. how inertia is broken.

Practical implications

The paper offers practitioners some guidelines for the management of their control systems to help them maintain more effective and efficient control systems.

Originality/value

The paper explains that under a teleological motor of change, inertia is broken more easily than under a dialectical one, because there is less tolerance for control obsolescence, hence improvement and removal of obsolete controls are more likely to occur. This is important for listed organisations having to implement more and more technical controls to comply with laws such as SOX. The paper also suggests that the life‐cycle is not a “motor” of change as suggested by Van de Ven and Poole, because it cannot explain how inertia is broken.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

June Borge Doornich, Katarina Kaarbøe and Anatoli Bourmistrov

This paper aims to explore how changes in the coercive and enabling orientations of the organizational rule system influence the attention managers pay to rules.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how changes in the coercive and enabling orientations of the organizational rule system influence the attention managers pay to rules.

Design/methodology/approach

The findings of a case study covering a multinational energy company, which are interpreted based on insights from the coercive/enabling bureaucracy literature and the evolution of rules literature, help explain how rules can direct attention.

Findings

The findings suggest that the tensions between corporate management’s intentions for an organization’s rule system and the attention middle (country) managers pay to those rules were the main driver of dialectic changes in the rule system. The more coercive the rule system became, the more middle managers diverted their attention away from rule compliance. The paper shows how the dialect change process constituted a dynamic interaction between mindful “rule setters” and mindful “rule followers.” The alignment between intentions and attention was reestablished by better balancing the coercive and enabling orientations of the rule system: enabling better flexibility, enhancing internal transparency based on local business logic and improving global transparency through closer alignment of local and global growth and efficiency goals. Surprisingly, the repair characteristic was not as important.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to the literature by showing how the enabling and coercive characteristics of an organizational rule system constitute managerial attention artifacts. The paper demonstrates how tensions between corporate intentions and local contingencies in the context of global organizations can lead to constrictive change and create a win-win situation for both central and local actors by better balancing the coercive and enabling orientations of the rule system. It also offers new insights into the dialectic change process in an organization’s rule system based on attention view toward organizational rules.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

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

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2018

Elodie Allain and Claude Laurin

The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why the uses (enabling or controlling) of an activity-based costing system could cause difficulties in implementing such a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why the uses (enabling or controlling) of an activity-based costing system could cause difficulties in implementing such a cost system.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a case study in a French insurance company. Three successive research periods were undertaken: from March to August 2005, between October 2008 and June 2009, and in 2012. In total, 51 interviews were conducted during these periods. Other useful information was also collected through conversations, observation, and through the consultation of internal documents.

Findings

The results show that designing a cost system aimed at being simultaneously used in controlling and enabling ways can generate important difficulties. Furthermore, the results show that attempting to get around these difficulties could result in investing significant amounts of resources with no guarantee of success.

Research limitations/implications

Beyond the difficulties of extending the scope of application of case studies, the study was conducted in an organization involved in the insurance industry which could further limit its general applicability.

Practical implications

Based on the experience at Rassura, the authors argue that managers should be aware that designing and implementing a cost system that can simultaneously be used in both controlling and enabling ways is a very difficult, if not an insurmountable challenge.

Originality/value

The results highlight that one important characteristic of a cost system, how it is used, could explain, at least partially, implementation difficulties related to technical challenges, resistance to change and lack of resources.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Erkki M. Lassila, Sinikka Moilanen and Janne T. Järvinen

The purpose of this paper is to concern the use of analytics as a calculative engine enabling coordination and control for the development process in a creative digital…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to concern the use of analytics as a calculative engine enabling coordination and control for the development process in a creative digital business environment.

Design/methodology/approach

This research employs an explorative field study approach, using interview data from professionals working with free-to-play mobile game development. Drawing on the concepts of cycles of accumulation, accounting as an engine and mediating instruments, this study examines how organisational actors using the analytics in a digital business environment participate in the data generation that accumulates knowledge about and new insights into the desired outcome.

Findings

The real-time metrics provided the means for organisational actors to continually monitor, visualise and if necessary intervene in the creative “good game” development process. Timely quantification and visualisation of user actions, collected as digital traces, enhanced the cycle of information accumulation. This new knowledge resulted in a desire for improvement and perfection, which directed the actions towards the organisational objectives.

Originality/value

This study furthers our understanding of the performativity of accounting as an engine and the user behavioural data trace as its “fuel” in a digital product development. It highlights the role of analytics as a “fact-generating” device, capable of transforming the raw user behavioural data, the fuel, into powerful explanations through visualisations of ideals. The real-time metrics, understood as mediating instruments, enable the generation of new insights and accumulation of knowledge guiding the further development towards the desired outcome, the “good game”.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2019

Winnie O’Grady

This paper aims to consider the enabling and coercive features of formal control in non-hierarchical settings and the factors influencing perceptions of controls.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to consider the enabling and coercive features of formal control in non-hierarchical settings and the factors influencing perceptions of controls.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a qualitative case study of a single organization. Data are collected via semi-structured interviews, a range of published materials and a management presentation. Analysis considered the features of coercive and enabling control at the level of individual controls.

Findings

In this highly decentralized organization, internal and global transparency predominate and help managers respond to contingencies in flexible ways. Managers cannot repair certain elements of controls to ensure there is stability in an otherwise flexible system. The existence (absence) of enabling features combined with the type of controls (e.g. action or results controls) lacking enabling features influence managers’ perceptions of control.

Research limitations/implications

Few studies have considered formal controls in non-hierarchical organizations. The findings reveal the importance of minimally coercive control features in creating a stable structure for controlling performance. The findings may not be relevant to other hierarchical organizations.

Originality/value

The study is conducted in a highly decentralized context where managers have extensive autonomy (flexibility). The context allows the role of minimally coercive control features to be explored in an essentially enabling organizational setting.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2016

Sharon Moynihan, Didier Jourdan and Patricia Mannix McNamara

– The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a national survey that examined the extent of implementation of Health Promoting Schools (HPS) in Ireland.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a national survey that examined the extent of implementation of Health Promoting Schools (HPS) in Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative research design was adopted. A questionnaire was administered to all post-primary schools in the country (n=704). Data were analysed with the support of the software packages, SPSS and MaxQDA.

Findings

A response rate of 56 per cent (n=394) was achieved. Over half of these schools (56 per cent) self-identified as health promoting. Schools reported success in the areas of environment and curriculum and learning, however, partnerships and policy and planning required more attention. Some models of good practice emerged from the data but these were in the minority. Many schools, when asked to describe health promotion in their school, placed emphasis on physical health (diet and exercise) and curriculum predominately rather than the broader whole school conceptualisation. Only 35 per cent of HPS schools had a team supporting HPS developments. Only 36 per cent identified the existence of a school policy to support HPS. This suggests that further coherence for sustained and comprehensive implementation of HPS is necessary.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted with school staff, in the first instance who self-reported their school’s level of HPS engagement.

Originality/value

This paper offers the first national baseline data available in relation to engagement in HPS in Ireland. It provides a valuable starting point from which further research with schools in this field can be conducted.

Details

Health Education, vol. 116 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

Keywords

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