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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…

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: 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…

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: 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.

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: 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…

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: 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: 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.

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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Article
Publication date: 15 March 2019

Giuseppe Pedeliento and Mihalis Kavaratzis

Although place branding is increasingly popular in research as well as in local, regional and national political agendas, the theoretical foundations of the place branding…

Abstract

Purpose

Although place branding is increasingly popular in research as well as in local, regional and national political agendas, the theoretical foundations of the place branding discipline are still underdeveloped. By embracing the stream of identity-based studies, this paper aims to attempt to demonstrate that place brands can be usefully approached through an emphasis of their cultural traits and the practical connection between culture, identity and image.

Design/methodology/approach

In constructing its theoretical arguments, the paper challenges the place branding model propounded by Kavaratzis and Hatch (2013), and uses practices as units of analysis. The paper conducts a brief review of the principal tenets of practice theory(IES) and uses structuration theory as a theoretical device to demonstrate how this theory can provide a (still lacking) theoretical anchorage for the place branding process.

Findings

The usefulness of structuration theory for understanding the place branding process is analysed at both the strategic and tactical levels by means of two illustrative examples. Structuration theory proves to be a solid theory which links the constitutive elements of the place branding process, i.e. culture, identity and image, and to inspire further theoretical elaborations and empirical efforts grounded on this theory.

Originality/value

This is the first paper which uses practice theory(ies) in general and structuration theory in particular to explain the place branding process. The theoretical arguments advanced provide valuable guidance for further theoretical elaborations and empirical applications.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 22 August 2018

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2004

Jesse F. Dillard, John T. Rigsby and Carrie Goodman

Institutional theory is becoming one of the dominant theoretical perspectives in organization theory and is increasingly being applied in accounting research to study the…

Abstract

Institutional theory is becoming one of the dominant theoretical perspectives in organization theory and is increasingly being applied in accounting research to study the practice of accounting in organizations. However, most institutional theory research has adequately theorized neither the institutionalization process through which change takes place nor the socio‐political context of the institutional formations. We propose a social theory based framework for grounding and expanding institutional theory to more fully articulate institutionalization processes. Specifically, we incorporate institutional theory and structuration theory and draw on the work of Max Weber in developing a framework of the context and the processes associated with creating, adopting and discarding institutional practices. We propose that the expanded framework depicts the socio‐economic and political context better and more directly addresses the dynamics of enacting, embedding and changing organizational features and processes. Expanding the focus of the institutional theory based accounting research can facilitate a more comprehensive representation of accounting as the object of institutional practices as well as provide a better articulation of the role of accounting in the institutionalization process.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 12 November 2018

Alessandro Sancino, James Rees and Irene Schindele

This book chapter uses structuration theory and aims to study cross-sectoral collaborations for co-creating public value and their implications in terms of the role and…

Abstract

This book chapter uses structuration theory and aims to study cross-sectoral collaborations for co-creating public value and their implications in terms of the role and the relationships of the public sector with the private and third sector.

Our research is exploratory and our main research question is: What are the modalities of structuration of cross-sectoral collaborations for co-creating public value? Our analysis is based on a multiple case study analyses conducted in the region of Trentino – South Tyrol (Italy), and it draws on primary and secondary data collected through six extensive semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis on about fifty organizations participating in six cross-sectoral collaborations. We found that the co-creation of public value led public organizations to structure cross-sectoral collaborations involving private and third-sector organizations, but preexistent structures of signification, domination, and legitimation hampered the public sector as a whole to fully democratically meta-govern the modalities of structuration.

The chapter provides insights for practice by highlighting the elements of structuration theory as a useful framework of analysis for decision-making of public managers involved in cross-sectoral collaborations. Research implications deal with using structuration theory and critical approaches at a macrolevel (e.g., the role of the public sector as a whole) within public management studies.

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