Purpose – This paper aims to investigate ways in which inertia obstructs the adoption of new management accounting rules. Drawing on the view of management accounting as organisational rules and routines, it aims to suggest various ways in which inertia can become more pronounced when new accounting rules challenge existing routines. Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal case study was conducted at one of the largest banks in The Netherlands. This bank introduced a program called “Results Oriented Management”, which produced various new management accounting rules. Findings – The paper identifies various ways in which inertia manifested itself when new management accounting rules were introduced. Moreover, the paper shows that ambiguity and contradictions play an important role in the presence of inertia. Research limitations/implications – The identification of individual-level habits and scripts is a difficult undertaking. Through a focus on the performative and ostensive aspects of routines, some of the processes of inertia and change on an individual level are identified. This is a relevant method for students of management accounting change. Originality/value – Although it is well known that routines can produce inertia, the process by which this inertia is manifested and how this affects the adoption of new management accounting rules is still unclear. The paper aims to contribute to this understanding.
"Organizations typically rely on procedural logics rather than consequential ones, and well-established procedures create obstacles to organizational change (Cyert and March 1963, Nelson and Winter 1982). The content of organizational memory—procedures, scripts, discourse, routines, and shared organizational culture—provides the source of inertia (Gilbert 2005, van der Steen 2009, Naslund and Pemer 2012). The more extensive the content, the stronger the inertial pressure. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper proposes a distance-based characterization of age-related structural inertia as an increasing constraint on the speed of change as organizations age. Our framework regards organizations as points in multidimensional metric spaces of architectures. Organizational change means movement in this space. The speed of change is the ratio of the distance between positions in a space and the time it took for the organization to make the move. We illustrate how our distance-based approach can be used to formulate theories of age-related organizational inertia by using this representation to develop a model for a possible mechanism: age-related cultural resistance to change based on the dynamics of exposure of organizational members to architectural features. Our proposed mechanism is distinct from prevailing explanations and leads to new predictions. We also illustrate the value of our distance-based approach in a reanalysis of Sørensen and Stuart’s study of age variations in firms’ patenting behavior [Sørensen JB, Stuart TE (2000) Aging, obsolescence, and organizational innovation. Admin. Sci. Quart. 45(1):81–112]. On the basis of patent citations, we construct a space that allows us to characterize the positions of organizations and the speed at which they change. We find that organizational age has a negative effect on the speed of change.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper examines the positioning of qualitative research to date in the field of management accounting. It offers a critical reflection and an appraisal of its profile relative to the dominant positivist quantitative accounting research literature. In the accounting literature, management accounting research is arguably a leader in applying qualitative research methodologies. Drawing on both the management accounting and qualitative research methodology literatures, the paper critically evaluates key features of the qualitative tradition and the future trajectory of the qualitative contribution to management accounting research. The qualitative tradition emerges as contributing to the understanding and critiquing of management and accounting processes, as well as having the ability to address the concerns of practitioners and policymakers. Close researcher engagement with the field, a concern with process, embracing situational complexity, as well as critical and reflective understandings of organisational phenomena remain as hallmarks of the tradition.
Critical Perspectives on Accounting 01/2012; 23(1). DOI:10.1016/j.cpa.2011.06.002
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