Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Management accounting systems and the exercise of interpersonal power in organizations : observations from an 'accounting free' zone : the case of not-for-profit performing arts organisations
Author: Turbide, Johanne
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1997
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis has two main concerns. First it attempts to shed new light on the ways in which alternative "critical" approaches have developed within management accounting research, over the past two decades, to challenge approaches which depict accounting in organizations as a rational, objective and value-free device. My literature review analyses the range of issues covered by the new approaches, and their boundaries, and suggests that, to date, the more significant contributions have taken place at the theoretical level, although an increasing amount of empirical research is coming through. My second and major objective is to contribute to the critical project in two ways: empirically, by undertaking a field study in an area where management accounting systems (hereafter MAS) are not necessarily accepted in a taken-for-granted way, the not-for-profit performing arts sector, and theoretically, by developing and validating, via this field study, a conceptual framework adapted from organization theory, which may help shed light on a theoretical issue which seems to have been somewhat overlooked, the reciprocal way in which individuals interact with MAS, as a problem .of power relations. The play of relations which I wish to scrutinize is best expressed in the following two questions: How do the actions of individuals affect the power of MAS? How does the power of MAS affect the actions of individuals? Methodologically, the conceptual framework is designed to enable me to analyse action in terms of the interactions between "individuals", "concrete systems of action" and the social, economic and cultural "environment". I aim to identify the relative influence on power relations of MAS, when compared with other "concrete systems of action", bearing in mind three types of constraint: those arising in the "immediate" environment, and others deriving from the "politicaleconomic" and "cultural-aesthetic" environments. My objective is to examine the extent to which MAS are appropriated as a resource by individuals in search of, or in the exercise of, power within not-for-profit based theatres. I have undertaken comparative field research in two countries, in order to see what regularities and differences there may be within and between countries. Data were gathered through direct observation and interviews, plus written documentation from two theatres in Montreal, Canada, and two in the English Midlands. Given the qualitative nature of my research, and in order to maintain a formal separation of observations and interpretation, I first present the detail of my findings using a simple narrative format, before presenting the interpretation based on my conceptual framework. My findings suggest that, even though many organizational actors still perceive an incompatibility between MAS and artistic objectives, artistic activity is heavily shaped by accounting-related activities, across all departments, in all theatres. Accounting discourse in general, and the MAS in particular, does affect actions and represents an indispensable resource in negotiations with outside actors, e.g. sponsors, funding bodies, formal Boards. At the same time, my comparative data suggest that an MAS which is structured to allow individuals to participate actively and positively in day-to-day accounting work will be more positively perceived by managers, even in a not-for-profit, performing arts contexts, as a helpful and constructive means of reconciling the aesthetic and economic objectives which are required for their organization's survival and success.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Ecole des hautes études commerciales (Montréal, Québec)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HG Finance ; PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater