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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Joao Cunha

The purpose of this paper is to develop a distributed model of structuration of information technology (IT) in organizations to complement the collective that dominates…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a distributed model of structuration of information technology (IT) in organizations to complement the collective that dominates the application of structuration theory to organizational phenomenon.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on secondary qualitative data to specify how differences among people's practices with and around IT determine the effect of IT in organizations.

Findings

The paper provides an analytical framework to extend the structuration theory of IT in organizations that can also explain differences among people's use of IT and track their consequences for the effect of IT in organizations.

Research limitations/implications

This paper extends the theory of the structuration of IT so that it can take into account the effect of the different ways in which people use IT at work.

Practical implications

This paper underscores the increase adaptability that managers can build during IT implementation by taking advantage of the differences among people's appropriation of IT, instead of attempting to make people use IT in similar ways.

Originality/value

The paper introduces the role of variation among people's practices into research on the structuration of IT on organizations. This research, which is one of the dominant approaches to the effect of IT in organizations, assumes that people share the same practices with and around IT and is ill suited to explain the consequences of variation among people's use of IT at work.

Details

Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2007

Lisa Jack and Ahmed Kholeif

The aim of this paper is to present a reinforced version of structuration theory, known as strong structuration theory, set out in Stones as a disciplined approach to…

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2897

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to present a reinforced version of structuration theory, known as strong structuration theory, set out in Stones as a disciplined approach to qualitative case study research in the organization, management and accounting fields. This framework challenges the belief held by certain critics that structuration theory cannot be used in substantive empirical research but is only a sensitising device or analytical tool.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual discussion is the approach of the paper.

Findings

The key concepts of strong structuration theory are outlined and then put in the context first of two attempts to apply the framework to empirical research and second of two recent papers which address theoretically informed qualitative research and the use of structuration theory in IT studies.

Research limitations/implications

There are some limitations of this paper. The framework offered was not used to set the original research questions in the two case studies employed as these cases were conducted before the publication of Stones' book in 2005. Also, as weaknesses in the framework can best be assessed using empirical findings, a full evaluation cannot be carried out until such research is undertaken.

Originality/value

This paper draws on recent research and thinking in sociology that have yet to be brought into case studies in the fields of accounting and management in particular.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

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…

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1907

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

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

John Nicholson, Adam Lindgreen and Philip Kitchen

The purpose of this paper is to apply pragmatic and practical perspectives to the transferability of research findings by examining the potential of structuration to serve…

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1472

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply pragmatic and practical perspectives to the transferability of research findings by examining the potential of structuration to serve as the relationship marketing meta‐theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper revisits the advanced subjectivist critique of functionalism as the dominant research paradigm before challenging the apparent fortification of the interpretivist paradigm and, in so doing, highlights interpretivism's weaknesses when dealing with social structures.

Findings

With the proposed model, relationship marketing researchers, using structuration theory, can recognize the temporal and spatial specificity – and thereby transferability – of interactions and relationships. Structuration is academically rigorous and pragmatic, because it avoids the distraction of the largely academic paradigm wars.

Research limitations/implications

By addressing the often‐noted spatial and temporal limitations of relationship marketing research, this research responds to calls for longitudinal research. The model offers the potential for examining historical interactions and relationships to gain insight into the constraining and enabling forces of social structures.

Practical implications

The use of a multi‐paradigm perspective is more pragmatic than a single paradigm investigation. Using structuration as that multi‐paradigm perspective, a relationship marketing researcher can gain greater insight into the spatial and temporal specificity and transferability of research findings. Researchers thus may assess the limitations of implementing marketing practice on the basis of the findings they gain from one space and time context in a different space and time context.

Originality/value

A paper discussing structuration is a rarity among marketing literature. This paper is the first to outline the potential use of structuration as the meta‐theory in relationship marketing research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

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…

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3164

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

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Alan Coad, Lisa Jack and Ahmed Othman Rashwan Kholeif

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

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1318

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

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2016

Hans Englund and Jonas Gerdin

The purpose of this paper is to provide a commentary on “Structuration theory: reflections on its further potential for management accounting research”, a paper by Coad et al.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a commentary on “Structuration theory: reflections on its further potential for management accounting research”, a paper by Coad et al.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents, discusses and challenges the critique that Coad et al. direct towards the notion of a flat and local structuration ontology in management accounting research.

Findings

This paper offers a number of reflections upon Coad et al.’s key arguments against a flat and local structuration ontology in extant accounting research. Based on the authors’ understanding of such an ontology, they also elaborate on what they believe a flat and local structuration ontology “can do” and “cannot do” for accounting research. Overall, the authors agree with Coad et al. that there is indeed an ontological divide between their different views on a flat and local ontology; a divide largely related to whether researchers have an essentialist view on social phenomena. However, the authors believe that Coad et al. exaggerate how this ontological divide has affected, and may affect, future empirical management accounting research.

Originality/value

This paper expands the current understanding of a flat and local structuration ontology in management accounting research.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this essay is twofold: (i) identification of the shared premises of the structuration and morphogenesis theories which have remained indifferent to or openly at odds with each other, while highlighting at the same time the specific elements of these two models which are better elaborated in one than the other; and (ii) demonstration of the benefits of social theory testing on the eventful historical analysis.

Design/methodology/approach

I first comparatively examine the main premises and guiding concepts of the two models in question, point out their basic affinities, and note different emphases. Next, different components and phases of the (re)constitution over time of societal structure(s) and human agency posited by the structuration/morphogenesis model are illustrated and “tested” through the historical account of the initiation and spread of migration of Polish peasants to America at the turn of the twentieth century and the subsequent impact of this movement on the sender and receiver societies.

Findings/originality/value

First, the demonstration of a close theoretical affinity of the structuration and morphogenesis models which provides the grounds for an intellectual exchange between their proponents. Second, derived from the historical analysis of Poles’ migration process, the identification of specific concepts informing the structuration/morphogenesis model which need further refinement. The third, most general finding-qua-contribution is a demonstration of the benefit for social theorizing from the historical, that is, time- and place-sensitive conceptualization and analysis of the examined phenomena.

Details

Social Theories of History and Histories of Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-219-6

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Sabrina Bresciani and Alice Comi

The use of visual templates has proven instrumental in supporting group meetings. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether visual templates enable culturally…

Abstract

Purpose

The use of visual templates has proven instrumental in supporting group meetings. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether visual templates enable culturally diverse groups to achieve greater task precision in face-to-face meetings.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on Adaptive Structuration Theory, it is argued that visual templates provide structuration for face-to-face meetings, even more so when they are embedded in computer-supported collaborative systems. In particular, it is hypothesized that the higher the degree of structuration imposed by visual templates, the higher the degree of task precision will be. It is also hypothesized that this relationship is positively moderated by group cultural diversity: higher cultural diversity will further sustain the positive effects of visual templates that provide higher structuration.

Findings

Results of an experiment with 229 managers from 49 countries confirm that facilitating groups with visual templates embedded in a computer-supported collaborative system significantly increases task precision at high levels of cultural diversity.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) by investigating the use of visual templates as a contingency factor that increases performance – specifically task precision – of co-located, culturally diverse groups.

Practical implications

Results indicate that visual templates embedded in a computer-supported collaborative system are an effective method for increasing task precision in face-to-face meetings of culturally diverse groups.

Originality/value

Theories from information systems and visualization are integrated into cross-cultural management with a view to sustaining the effectiveness of culturally diverse groups. The study sample is characterized by highly culturally diverse groups interacting in face-to-face meetings.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2010

Ping Gao and Jing Hua Li

The purpose of this paper is to explore how to use structuration theory as a benchmarking tool to analyze the formulation of a national strategy.

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1275

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how to use structuration theory as a benchmarking tool to analyze the formulation of a national strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a longitudinal case study of the telecommunications industry of China.

Findings

The case study demonstrates structuration theory is a useful tool for the benchmarking analysis. It is found that China's telecommunications industry has transformed by stages and undergone several benchmarks. The specific social and technological elements of China have determined the formulation of its national telecommunications transformation strategy.

Research limitations/implications

The paper extends benchmarking research to strategy formulation. It proposes structuration theory can be used in this aspect of benchmarking analysis.

Practical implications

Implications for how to use structuration theory in the benchmarking analysis, especially that of national strategy formulation are given.

Originality/value

For the first time in the literature, this paper applies structuration theory to benchmarking analysis.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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