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Article

Stephen T.T. Teo, Bhavini Lakhani, David Brown and Teemu Malmi

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of adopting a strategic approach to human resource management (HRM) in professional service firms (PSFs). It provides…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of adopting a strategic approach to human resource management (HRM) in professional service firms (PSFs). It provides the empirical evidence by comparing and contrasting the adoption of a strategic approach to HRM in two Australian PSFs.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative case study approach is adopted. Data were collected from multiple sources. The secondary sources comprised annual reports, press releases and industry reports. In total, 40 semi‐structured interviews were conducted with senior partners, professional staff, HR managers and ex‐employees of the two firms.

Findings

The findings suggest that differences in the performance of PSFs could be explained by organizational control systems such as personnel and cultural controls. The qualitative data generated by the two PSF cases provided evidence to support the notion that strategic human resource management is an important factor in explaining firm performance. Our findings provide empirical support for the importance of strategic approaches to HRM.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of this study is the adoption of case study method, the findings of which cannot be generalized to a wider population. Thus, the study provides only a limited body of accumulated knowledge. Future studies could adopt a longitudinal research design to test the relationships between HRM systems, control systems and firm performance.

Practical implications

To be competitive, PSFs must restructure their HRM functions to allow the department to participate in strategic decision‐making. HR departments in firms should also incorporate cultural and personnel controls as a way to achieve higher levels of firm performance.

Originality/value

The paper provides empirical evidence of how PSFs use HRM as a component of success.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 31 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

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Article

Allan Hansen

The methodological debate relating to accounting research using actor‐network theory (ANT) has primarily focused on how ANT generates performative studies that…

Abstract

Purpose

The methodological debate relating to accounting research using actor‐network theory (ANT) has primarily focused on how ANT generates performative studies that significantly differ from ostensive studies. These discussions have in many ways (and for good reasons) distanced performative from ostensive research. Recently, however, several scholars have emphasized the interdependencies between ostensive and performative aspects when it comes to knowledge development, thereby underlining the need to coordinate ostensive and performative studies and bring them closer together. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the methodological opportunities and limitations for ANT researchers who seek to move closer to ostensive research.

Design/methodology/approach

The basis for exploring the opportunities and threats stemming from integration at the methodological level is a comparison of performative and ostensive case study methodologies as they have been presented in research. Robert K. Yin's case study methodology is chosen to represent an ostensive view whereas performative case study methodology is represented by the methodological reflections of Bruno Latour, John Law, and Michel Callon.

Findings

The paper illustrates how the process is a balancing act. On the one hand, it requires performative researchers to relate more closely to aspects decisive for ostensive researchers; yet, on the other, they need to preserve the distinctiveness of the performative approach.

Originality/value

This paper exemplifies these issues with reference to management accounting research and contributes by clarifying the methodological implications of moving performative research closer to ostensive research.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article

Kari Lukka and Eija Vinnari

The purpose of this paper is to distinguish two roles of theories, domain theory and method theory, and examine their relationships in management accounting research. Are…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to distinguish two roles of theories, domain theory and method theory, and examine their relationships in management accounting research. Are these two roles explicitly distinguished in management accounting studies? Can this be achieved in an unambiguous manner? Where do ambitions for theoretical contribution lie in management accounting studies that employ method theories?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors develop a conceptual framework for analysing possible relationships between domain theories and method theories in studies and illustrate the theoretical arguments with examples from management accounting studies employing Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as their method theory.

Findings

There can be various types of relationships between domain theories and method theories, and the theoretical ambition of the analysed studies typically focused on domain theories. However, ambiguity can exist with regard to the location of a study's theoretical ambition. Both domain theories and method theories tend to be moving fields, and their interaction can add to this feature.

Research limitations/implications

The suggested conceptual clarification assists in the reconciliation of extreme perspectives that relate to management accounting and theory. It will also help researchers to systematically design their own work and evaluate that of others. An increased understanding of how a field develops as a result of interaction with method theories might perhaps alleviate concerns regarding the value of mobilizing the latter.

Originality/value

The analysis contributes to the on-going debate on the value and effects of employing method theories, or theoretical lenses, in management accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Robyn King and Peter Clarkson

This study aims to examine the interplay between ownership structure (organisational form) and management control system (MCS) design as governance structures within…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the interplay between ownership structure (organisational form) and management control system (MCS) design as governance structures within Australian primary health-care organisations (PHOs), seeking support for the suggestion that professional services will be most efficiently and effectively provided in organisations that have internal governance that is matched to their ownership form.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based on a series of in-depth investigations into the MCS choices made by seven Australian PHOs. Arguing that the degree of information impactedness is inversely related to the level of general practitioner (GP) ownership, organisations where more than 50 per cent of the GPs working within the practice are owners are classified as “high ownership” (“low information impactedness”). The adoption by high-performing organisations of their predicted MCS archetype according to Speklé’s development is then interpreted as representing empirical support.

Findings

The findings provide uniform support for the importance of the match between ownership structure and internal governance mechanisms. As predicted, the two high-performing, high member-owned organisations reported MCS resembling exploratory archetypes, the three high-performing, low member-owned organisations reported MCS consistent with a boundary archetype and the two low-performing organisations reported little emphasis on any control.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides evidence of the importance of the appropriate match between ownership structure and internal governance mechanisms for PHOs.

Practical implications

This study has potential to assist managers, owners and advisors to optimise MCS design in professional services organisations where there is heterogeneous ownership by professionals.

Originality/value

This study is one of the few attempts to provide empirical support for the assertion of the importance of a match between ownership structure and MCS design. It also represents one of the few attempts to provide empirical support for Speklé’s (2001) control archetypes, here the boundary and exploratory archetypes, archetypes that are applicable within important sectors of the economy, notably the professional services sector.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

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Article

Lili-Anne Kihn and Salme Näsi

Several scholars have recently highlighted the narrowness of accounting research regarding it as a threat to scholarly developments in the field. The aim of this study was…

Abstract

Purpose

Several scholars have recently highlighted the narrowness of accounting research regarding it as a threat to scholarly developments in the field. The aim of this study was to chart progress in management accounting research using a sample of doctoral dissertations published in Finland. In particular, the study examines the range and diversity of research strategic choices in Finnish dissertations over time, including the topics and methodological and theoretical approaches chosen. The authors also briefly compare findings over time and with other progress studies.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal historical investigation was selected. All of the 80 management accounting doctoral dissertations published in Finnish business schools and departments during 1945-2015 were analysed.

Findings

The findings reveal that an expansion of doctoral education has led to an increasing diversity of research strategic choices in Finland. Different issues have been of interest at different times; so, it has been possible to cover a wide range of cost, management accounting and other topics and to use different methodological and theoretical approaches over time. Consequently, management accounting has become a rich and multifaceted field of scientific research.

Research limitations/implications

While this analysis is limited to doctoral research in Finland, the results should be relevant in advancing the understanding of the development of management accounting research.

Practical implications

Overall, the findings support the view that there have been, and continue to be, many ways to conduct innovative research in the field of management accounting.

Social implications

Dissertation research in this field has been extensive and vital enough to educate new generations of academics, guarantee continuity of the subject as an academic discipline and make management accounting a significant academic field of research.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to current research on management accounting change by an analysis of a sample of doctoral dissertations.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article

Martin Quinn and Martin R.W. Hiebl

Recent research provides useful insights on management accounting routines, yet little is written on their foundations. In particular, factors which may contribute to…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent research provides useful insights on management accounting routines, yet little is written on their foundations. In particular, factors which may contribute to eventual management accounting routines have not been detailed in terms of the process of routinization. Thus, this paper aims to provide an initial theory-based understanding on the foundation of management accounting routines. In turn, it is hoped that this will raise further research interest on this topic.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on extant literature, a framework on foundations of management accounting routines is developed, and two empirical cases illustrate its operationalization.

Findings

The framework illustrates that a more complete understanding of change to management accounting routines can be gleaned when more is known about their foundations. The foundations are likely to be influenced by a combination and/or interaction of factors at the organizational level, the organizational field level and the economic and political level.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the so far limited understanding of the foundation of management accounting routines, more research is required. This framework may be useful to guide such research.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of few papers to offer an initial theory-based understanding on the foundations of management accounting routines specifically. This understanding can be built on to improve our knowledge in the management accounting domain of the complex, but ubiquitous, concept of organizational routines.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article

Kari Lukka and Eija Vinnari

The purpose of this paper is to examine the philosophical and practical compatibility of actor-network theory (ANT) and interventionist research (IVR) and search for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the philosophical and practical compatibility of actor-network theory (ANT) and interventionist research (IVR) and search for explanations for their scant combined use. The scope of investigation is limited to accounting, management and organization studies (MOS), but the findings are believed to be applicable in other social sciences as well.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis is conducted of accounting and MOS research in addition to interviewing eight accounting scholars who have applied IVR and/or ANT in their research.

Findings

A comparison of the philosophical and other features of ANT and IVR suggests that they should be relatively easily combinable in studies. Based on interview material, three types of barriers to combining ANT and IVR are identified: perceived epistemological incompatibility, fear of going native or losing neutrality and academic tribes. However, subsequent analysis indicates that none of these forms an insurmountable obstacle to the combination.

Research limitations/implications

The combined application of ANT and IVR could benefit both IVR and ANT researchers in management accounting as it would enable them to conduct theoretically grounded studies on dynamic processes, such as the emergence and implementation of accounting innovations, to pose original research questions and to find new perspectives to accounting phenomena.

Practical implications

Employing ANT and IVR in combination could increase organizational interest in management accounting research.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the discussion on the compatibility of different research approaches and highlights ways in which researchers could benefit from combining ANT and IVR.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Jari Huikku, Timo Hyvönen and Janne Järvinen

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the initiation of accounting information system projects. Specifically, it examines the role of the predictive analytics (PA…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the initiation of accounting information system projects. Specifically, it examines the role of the predictive analytics (PA) project initiator in the integration of financial and operational sales forecasts.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a field study method to address the studied phenomenon in eight Finnish companies that have recently adopted PA systems. The data are primarily based on 19 interviews in the companies and five interviews with the PA consultants.

Findings

The authors found that initiators appear to play a major role regarding the degree of integration of financial and operational sales forecasts. The initiators from an accounting function have a tendency to pay more attention to the integration than the representatives from other functions, such as operations and sales.

Practical implications

The study also makes a practical contribution to companies in showing and discussing the important role of the accounting department as an initiator of a project if the target is to achieve a tight coupling of financial and operational forecast figures, i.e., “one set of numbers”.

Originality/value

Even though companies have increasingly adopted PA systems in recent years, we still know little about how the initiation affects the design of accounting information systems overall. The central contribution of the paper, therefore, is to show that if a PA project is initiated by the accounting department, data integration becomes more likely. It contributes also to the discussion related to the appropriateness of data integration in the context of forecasting.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Article

Anni Lindholm, Teemu Juhani Laine and Petri Suomala

The purpose of this paper is to identify the financial potential of new service businesses in the context of a global machinery manufacturer. The objective is to examine…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the financial potential of new service businesses in the context of a global machinery manufacturer. The objective is to examine the supportive role of management accounting (MA) and control in service business development, which has not been empirically examined previously.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes advantage of an interventionist case study at a global machinery manufacturer and is empirically based on a comprehensive examination of the service business potential in the selected product category in different market areas. The researchers were actively involved in the accounting development activities underlying this paper.

Findings

The results suggest that the development of a global service business is necessary to build on market area characteristics. An analysis should combine financial information and equipment fleet information across product lines and organizational units.

Research limitations/implications

MA and control practices tend to require significant development to actually support the process of identifying and capturing the service business potentials. As the findings are limited to one case environment, further studies should address the longitudinal evolution of MA and control, and the choice and utilization of different performance measures, in similar contexts.

Practical implications

The paper provides managerial insights on how to utilize MA information and proposes ideas for performance indicators.

Originality/value

The process examined in this paper responds to the need for tools and techniques supporting service business development. MA and control could provide a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of service business profitability potential and support in identifying and prioritizing the possible avenues of realizing such potential.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

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