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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2019

Christos Begkos, Sue Llewellyn and Kieran Walshe

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the intricate ways in which accounting is implicated in the unfolding of strategizing in a pluralistic setting. The authors…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the intricate ways in which accounting is implicated in the unfolding of strategizing in a pluralistic setting. The authors treat strategizing as a practical coping mechanism which begins in response to a problem and unfolds over time into an episode. This approach enables the authors to explore strategizing pathways and the ways they can mobilise accounting to advance from practical coping to explicit strategic intent.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with Clinical Directors, Business Managers and Finance personnel at three NHS hospitals. Documents were also collected, such as business cases and financial reports. The authors employed theories on strategizing agency, episodes and practical coping to select examples of strategizing and indicate how strategizing is constructed and performed. The authors present the results of this qualitative analysis in three strategizing narratives.

Findings

The analysis highlights how Clinical Directors’ strategizing with accounting, in response to their financial problems, can take on contesting, conforming and circumventing modes. As the strategizing pathway unfolds, accounting acts as an obligatory passage point through which Clinical Directors pursue their strategic intent. Along each pathway the authors identify, first, where practical coping takes on a clear strategic intent and, second, whether this emergent strategy proves efficacious.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the nascent body of accounting and strategizing studies through seeing strategizing with accounting, not as the formulation of explicit organisational strategy as “done” in board rooms and strategy meetings, but as an impromptu response to a critical financial problem within a localised organisational setting. In response to a problem, actors may realise their immanent strategizing through their engagement with accounting practices.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

Andrew Sayer

The paper's purpose is to provide a commentary on “Case studies and differentiated realities” a paper by Sue Llewellyn published in Qualitative Research in Accounting &

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618

Abstract

Purpose

The paper's purpose is to provide a commentary on “Case studies and differentiated realities” a paper by Sue Llewellyn published in Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management Vol. 4 No 1, 2007

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to draw upon critical realist and other philosophy of social science to respond constructively to Llewellyn's paper.

Findings

Rejects the claim that we need a concept of plural realities rather than a concept of a single, differentiated reality. Endorses Llewellyn's argument that different meanings of objectivity and subjectivity often go unnoticed, undermining their user's arguments. Takes issue with Llewellyn's claim that surveys are better suited to stable situations and case studies for changing situations. Adds support to the defence of case studies against the charge of lack of representativeness, by drawing upon ontological arguments about part‐whole relations and upon defences of practical reason.

Originality/value

The implication of these points is that a still stronger defence of case study approaches can be made.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

Robert W. Scapens and ChunLei Yang

The aim is to provide a commentary on “Case studies and differentiated realities”, a paper by Sue Llewellyn, published in Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

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793

Abstract

Purpose

The aim is to provide a commentary on “Case studies and differentiated realities”, a paper by Sue Llewellyn, published in Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2007.

Design/methodology/approach

Examines the ontological statements in Llewellyn's paper and analyses her criticisms of the “single reality” ontology of social constructivism.

Findings

Critically examines Llewellyn's differentiated worlds by looking at their ontological distinctiveness. Proposes that there are two “dimensions” to an ontological proposition, and that it is necessary to look at both in order to provide a more complete ontological statement. Discusses the extent to which Llewellyn's notion of a “single reality” reflects the ontological position of social constructivism and positivism.

Originality/value

Expands Llewellyn's idea of pluralism in an even broader sphere where “single” and “plural” co‐exist.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1996

Christopher Humphrey and Robert W. Scapens

Provides a response to the comments by Joni Young and Alistair Preston and by Sue Llewellyn, and seeks to clarify the authors’ use of the term “rhetoric”. Argues that both…

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862

Abstract

Provides a response to the comments by Joni Young and Alistair Preston and by Sue Llewellyn, and seeks to clarify the authors’ use of the term “rhetoric”. Argues that both sets of commentators rely on rhetoric to express their own arguments. While the authors recognize and agree with most of the concerns raised by Llewellyn, they do not accept many of Young/Preston’s criticisms of their paper. Emphasizes that, although the authors were arguing for more scholarship, they were not seeking to dismiss the work of others.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

Sue Llewellyn

The paper aims to provide a response to commentaries in this issue by Andrew Sayer, and Robert W. Scapens and ChunLei Yang on “Case studies and differentiated realities” a…

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433

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to provide a response to commentaries in this issue by Andrew Sayer, and Robert W. Scapens and ChunLei Yang on “Case studies and differentiated realities” a paper by Sue Llewellyn published in Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management Vol. 4 No. 1, 2007.

Design/methodology/approach

Discusses issues raised in the commentaries around “differentiated realities”, “pluralist ontology” and the “single reality” of social constructivism.

Findings

Reiterates an understanding of the idea of “differentiated realities” and discusses the methodological implications that arise from it.

Originality/value

Clarifies Llewellyn's original discussion of differentiated realities and case studies.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Sue Llewellyn, Ron Eden and Colin Lay

Management accounting, inter alia, gives information on how resources are allocated within organisations. If managers wish to change patterns of resource allocation…

Abstract

Management accounting, inter alia, gives information on how resources are allocated within organisations. If managers wish to change patterns of resource allocation, accounting knowledge is pivotal to any change processes. In health care organisations resources follow decisions made by clinicians, hence to have an impact on resource allocations managers must influence them. Direct managerial control over clinicians is not possible or desirable in health care organisations. This article suggests that incentives are an alternative to control in health care and investigates the impact of financial incentives within hospitals, utilising a naturally occurring experimental situation that has arisen between the UK and Canada.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Sue Llewellyn and Markus J. Milne

This paper aims to introduce the AAAJ special issue on “Accounting as codified discourse”, explicate the idea of codification and locate the notion of a “codified…

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6975

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to introduce the AAAJ special issue on “Accounting as codified discourse”, explicate the idea of codification and locate the notion of a “codified discourse” within the broader tradition of discourse studies in management.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is conceptual and discursive, and provides a theoretical framework for understanding codification and a discursive context for the accepted papers in this special issue.

Findings

Theoretically, consideration of the more determinate relationship between codified discourse and practice can add to the general understanding of the discourse/practice dynamic in organisation studies. Several issues are identified that call for further empirical investigation. First, some of the broad‐spectrum accounting codes (e.g. historic cost) are currently under review in the expectation that change will enable constructive accounting innovation. Second, the impact of more codified accounting on management practice in organisations requires evaluation. Third, how far “intangibles” and “externalities” can be codified is a pertinent current agenda. Fourth, work is needed on whether and to what extent professional power is curtailed when politicians and policy makers introduce more codified discourses.

Research limitations/implications

Currently “codification” is not well understood in the literature. This AAAJ special issue opens up the debate but there remains considerable scope for future work to take this agenda forward – to enable more detailed understanding of accounting as codified discourse.

Originality/value

Although “discourse studies” and “discourse analysis” are now firmly embedded in the organisational/management literature, “codified discourses” have not featured in the debate. This is a significant omission as codification is a key feature of many discourses – especially in professional fields like accounting, law, and medicine. Moreover, codified discourses are becoming more widespread. The value of this paper lies in its exposition of accounting as codification in relation to discourse.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Enrico Bracci and Sue Llewellyn

This article aims to focus on one of the most intriguing issues related to the public sector reforms: the accountability systems. In particular the paper aims to deal with…

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1639

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to focus on one of the most intriguing issues related to the public sector reforms: the accountability systems. In particular the paper aims to deal with the relationships between accounting‐based reforms, forms of accountability, and people‐changing or people‐processing approaches to service provision within Italian social work.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the accountability and people changing/processing literature to interpret and discuss the evidence gathered in an in‐depth longitudinal case study conducted in a social service public organization between 2007 and 2009.

Findings

The article reveals that the case study site had developed two distinct groups of services: “Territoriali” and “Residenziali”. “Territoriali” engage in a traditional mode of social care, they provide professional support to clients with, sometimes, quite intractable problems, and aim to modify clients' characteristics, behaviour and attitudes. In contrast, “Residenziali” deal with, and often outsource, more standardized care packages in the form of residential care, day care and some home‐based services. The accounting reforms were received very differently in these two areas. “Territoriali” was resistant to the changes but, in large part, “Residenziali” embraced them. The article then argues that this reflected the extent to which each service area was willing and able to implement a people‐processing rather than a people‐changing approach. The adoption of the people‐processing method had profound implications for the ways that accountability was both experienced and delivered in the services.

Originality/value

This article deals with the under‐researched area of social care. It integrates two literatures not previously articulated together: accountability and people changing/processing. A three‐year longitudinal study is presented, enabling an in‐depth appreciation of the changes affecting social services and the differential responses to accounting and consequent shifts in accountability in two contrasting service areas.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Deryl Northcott and Sue Llewellyn

This paper aims to bring greater clarity to the debate on the merits (or demerits) of relative performance evaluation through a broad assessment of current UK National…

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3672

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to bring greater clarity to the debate on the merits (or demerits) of relative performance evaluation through a broad assessment of current UK National Health Service (NHS) benchmarking. It seeks to examine whether benchmarking is being used dynamically to disseminate best practice in healthcare, or whether it is primarily a government tool to enforce static competitive performance standards.

Design/methodology/approach

Draws on recent literature and government pronouncements. It charts the development of the health care policy discourse that articulated a move from the internal market of the early 1990s to the metrics approach of New Labour.

Findings

Benchmarking is one of the private sector‐grown “managerialist” tools whose application and significance is rapidly increasing in the UK public sector. Despite its prevalence, the nature (competitive or comparative), the process (based on indicators or ideas) and the outcomes (standards or “best practice”) of benchmarking in public services remain unclear. The findings reveal that benchmarking requirements, imposed by government policy, are articulated in terms of comparative ideas – benchmarking with the stated objective of “sharing best practice”, but are operationalised and disseminated in the form of indicator league tables with standardised benchmarks for performance. Hence, there is an apparent “articulated policy – implemented practice gap”. Concludes that, whilst benchmarking is a highly desirable policy instrument, its practical relevance to health care improvement is still in doubt.

Originality/value

The findings are relevant to both NHS policy‐makers and to NHS actors who must engage with the processes and outcomes of benchmarking practices.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2007

Sue Llewellyn

Although the case for case studies is now well established in accounting and management research, the exact nature of their contribution is still under discussion. This…

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2405

Abstract

Purpose

Although the case for case studies is now well established in accounting and management research, the exact nature of their contribution is still under discussion. This paper aims to add to this debate on contribution by arguing that case studies explore not one reality but several.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a theoretical paper that discusses ontology using a deductive approach.

Findings

The paper argues that reality is differentiated into physical, structural, agential, cultural and mental realms.

Research limitations/implications

The paper begins to draw out some of the implications of “differentiated realities” for case studies, but there is much more that could be said.

Practical implications

Because case studies encompass differentiated realities, the paper discusses how expectations about the contribution of case studies should be intimately linked to the nature of the differentiated realities being researched.

Originality/value

“Differentiated realities” provides a fresh look status of case study findings and challenges the idea of a single social reality – as portrayed by both social positivism and social constructivism.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

1 – 10 of 96