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Management Accounting Change: A hybrid institutional and managerial perspective : The case of the Greek Higher Education Institutions

KATSIKAS, EPAMINONDAS (2013) Management Accounting Change: A hybrid institutional and managerial perspective : The case of the Greek Higher Education Institutions. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The responses of certain organisations, such as Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), to the demands of their institutional environment are central to this study. In today’s economic climate and under the existing political and social conditions, it is inevitable for organisations to consider and/or undergo some form of change and to reform the existing management practices so that to become more efficient and accountable regarding the acquisition and use of the public sector resources thus, adopting the New Public Management principles. In this vein, accounting was expected to play a major role in providing new forms of financial information. This information would then be utilized towards the improvement of the public sector’s performance and accountability in order to achieve efficiency, effectiveness and economy and the presence of the accrual basis accounting system has constituted an important change component.

The current study focuses on providing an answer to the question of how HEIs in Greece responded to governmental pressures for accounting reform during the decade of 1998-2008; specifically, it focuses on the extent to which HEIs implement the accrual accounting system and the influence of the isomorphic and intra organizational dynamics on its implementation. The aim of this enquiry is to assist in providing a deep understanding of the external and internal dynamics that influence the adoption and implementation of the Management Accounting (MA) systems, resulting thus, to new daily accounting practices within certain organizations. The current study is not limited in researching the various ways in which the Greek HEIs cope with the management of the change pressures but also aims towards studying the effect of the internal and external institutional environment within which organizations operate. This institutional environment exerts influence on the behavior of the organizations with regard to change.

The theoretical framework employed various institutional theory strands and perspectives on change management theories regarding change management processes that consider the ways in which MA practices can undergo change. Consequently, a hybrid institutional approach of MA change derived from the integration of various strands of institutional theory, such as Old Institutional Economics (OIE) and New Institutional Theory (NIS) and perspectives on change management theories. The adoption of a subjectivism interpretive philosophy has been suggested as the most appropriate and a case study research strategy has been adopted for the scope of this study including an in part survey strategy. The Greek higher education system is considered to be the case study under investigation. The complexity of the phenomena under investigation implied the need for a sequential mixed method approach in order to best understand and explain the phenomenon under investigation.

The current research aims to contribute to the growing body of literature of MA and change management that combine OIE and NIS perspectives with change management theories and to provide major implications for the successful MA change in certain organizations, such as higher education sector institutions. With respect to this specific research area, twofold objectives have been considered to be achieved via this study concerning theoretical and practical aspects equally. The theoretical objective of this thesis was to develop a valuable theoretical framework by using complementary various theoretical strands and perspectives. The second objective was the empirical investigation of the accrual accounting system implementation in certain organizations such as the Greek HEIs. The findings of the empirical study have been expected to provide organizational actors with a further understanding of the MA change and the influence of isomorphic and intra organizational dynamics in the accounting change process.

This thesis has provided evidence of how the intra organizational dynamics have been activated towards the implementation of the new accounting system under the government pressure and the isomorphic forces enacted for. Furthermore, it resulted in that the implementation of the accrual accounting system and the attempted MA change were dependent on the activation and interaction of the isomorphic forces as well as of the intra organizational dynamics which guided the whole process of change from the starting point to its resulting thus to the new daily accounting practices and routines up rising as taken for granted. In particular, based strictly on an investigation of the existing literature and the analysis of the derived findings by the survey structured questionnaire and the face-to-face interviews, it is assumed that isomorphic forces have been insufficiently activated by the external environment in order to push the Greek HEIs forward towards the adoption of the accounting reform demanded by the legislator (Presidential Decree 205/1998). It is also supported that the intra organizational dynamics, activated within each individual HEI that implemented the accrual accounting system, have not resulted sufficiently to the development of new accounting routines, considering them as the positive outcome of the successful accounting change process.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Management accounting, Institutional theory, Change, Higher Education, New public management
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2013 10:34

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