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Title: Modelling the intertwined roles of institutional and technical environments in management accounting change : the case of cost management change in Portuguese manufacturing SMEs
Author: Lima Pereira Afonso, Paulo Sérgio
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2007
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Some theorists (e.g. Scott, 1987a; Gupta et al., 1994; Geiger and Ittner, 1996) have been suggesting a combined analysis of economic and institutional pressures (coercive, normative and mimetic - DiMaggio and Powell, 1983) to enrich the understanding of the adoption and use of new management accounting systems. The conceptualization of the intertwined roles of technical and institutional environments is an issue that has been neglected in the literature on management accounting change (Carruthers, 1995; Abernethy and Chua, 1996). In fact, little attention has been given to the motives of management accounting changes (Hopwood, 1987; Malmi, 1999). The relationship between technical and institutional factors has had some empirical evidence (e.g. Granlund et aI., 1998; Drennan and Kelly, 2002). Furthermore, Oliver (1991) and Modell (2002) offered frameworks which can partially accommodate the interconnected roles of technical and institutional environments. Oliver's (1991) model of strategic choice in response to institutional pressures offers an approach which is an attempt to connect both environments. On the other hand, Modell (2002) proposes an analytical framework which is primarily based on institutional pressures, but which also assumes the moderating role of contextual factors that characterize the organization's technical environment. While both models constitute interesting theoretical contributions, they should be extended because they do not permit to accommodate the complexity of management accounting change when both technical and institutional environments and their intertwined roles should be considered. Drawing upon evidence related to cost management change in Portuguese manufacturing SMEs, this work offers empirical evidence on the intertwined roles of technical and institutional environments in the adoption of cost management practices. Findings proved that change in cost management practices is influenced by institutional pressures and by the organizations' technical environment. Both types of pressures and the intertwined nature of such influence are relevant to explain these phenomena. !his research project contributes to the literature into two additional ways. Firstly, It shows that technical and institutional environments can be intertwined in some processes of cost management change. This fact calls for an extended version of Modell's (2002) framework. Secondly, it demonstrates that cost management change can take more complex forms which cannot be accommodated into models based ,on an organization's strategic response to institutional pressures (i.e. Ohv~r s, 1991 approach). Accordingly analytical frameworks which go beyond Cont lllua of resistance and pressure must' be used.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available