Privatisation in Malaysia with special reference to changes in accounting system
This study constitutes an attempt to analyse the impact of privatisation upon an organisation. The literature on privatisation suggests that one aspect of the process is the creation of new organisational form. In particular, it is believed that the influence of accounting may increase with the introduction of a new commercial ethos. The study traces this change in a privatised Malaysian Telecommunication Company, using Laughlin's model (1991), and Greenwood and Hinnings'(1988) work on organisational tracks to provide a theoretical framework. The research was carried out as an explanatory case study, using the interpretative approach.Information was obtained from documents and from interviews, during the course of four visits to Malaysia,including a three-month attachment to the organisation.To the best of the researcher's knowledge, this is the first such study to be conducted on a public sector organisation in a developing country. The findings of the study may be summarized as follows: (1) Accounting emerged as visible in the organisation, with elements of the accounting system increasingly prevailing in the design archetype, with a new emphasis on planning,budgeting, responsibility accounting, accountability, and performance appraisal. (ii) At the same time, accounting was not able to penetrate into the first level, i.e. the values and beliefs, of the interpretative model, leaving the organisation in a 'schizoid' position (Greenwood and Hinnings, 1988) i.e. tension between the engineering and accounting systems. Colonization change has not taken place, as engineering is reemerging in the organisation because of inherited values, rapid technological advancement of the industry and increasing demand for telecommunication services. The assimilation of financial and commercial values appears to be limited, largely confined to fundamental planning. In addition to shedding light on the accounting and organisational consequences of privatisation, this research suggests that organisational change should be examined more from the process point of view, as it was found that there are interconnections or interrelations between the first, second and third phases of disturbance to the organisation. Moreover, accounting can no longer be studied in isolation, as it is influenced by the economic, organisational and political context. Finally,the study has assisted in the development of Laughlin's skeletal model.