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Title: Stages and pathways of management accounting change in small, growing firms
Author: Condie, Jennifer
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This study investigates the processes leading up to the implementation of a change in an accounting system: how managers identify a need for change, and how possible solutions are found and evaluated. The study is set in twelve small, growing firms; a category of firms whose success is important for driving economic growth (Bhide, 1999; Storey, 1983). This is also a setting where change is frequent and relatively simple, making the change process more easily observed than in large firms. The challenges of the research design were met using research techniques that are new or uncommon in accounting literature: the Cognitive Interview (Milne et al., 1999), narrative analysis (Llewelyn, 1999), and data displays (Miles et al., 1994). Five stages that lead up to implementation are identified, along with the factors that act within each stage. Facing a Changing Situation is the first stage, in which a need for management accounting and control change develops. Key managerial tasks are identified in the four stages that follow: perceiving and interpreting signals about how well the firm is performing (Situation Awareness); finding gaps between how the firm is performing and how they want the company to perform (problem Finding); finding potential solutions to the problem (Solution Finding); and evaluating potential solutions in order to choose one (Decision Making). Finally, a typical chronological sequence for the stages is found, and divergences from this sequence explored. The conclusion of the thesis is that momentum for change depends on an interaction between the individual and the situation. To successfully respond to an organisational challenge the individual needs good situation awareness, appropriate value judgments, a variety of sources of inspiration, and effective evaluation methods. Finally, natural, messy, non-linear change processes can be as effective, and perhaps more efficient, than analytical, orderly, linear change processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available