Understanding management accounting when "institutions matter" : a multimethod approach

Abstract: This thesis departs from a need to map extant research on management accounting (MA) drawing on institutional theorizing, due to unnecessary confusion and unclarity within. Four ‘areas of confusion’ are reviewed, i.e. MA as a concept, modelling of workings of and reasons for agency, MA’s role in social accounts and sources of (i.e. propellers of) MA practice to make it similar or different in time and space. The resulting maps contribute in an aggregate sense to overview but also add some ways of clustering insights as well as dimensions to these maps which are previously not pursued in institutionalist MA research in these ways or forms.Subsequently, empirical research in academia into consequences of increasing performance measurement of research(ers) enabled essay-specific contributions but also a closer look at how MA is reproduced in different situations (i.e. MA-situations). More generally put, this led to inquiring into when and why/i.e. in which MA-situations, traditionalist professional- and/or performer structures are reproduced by agents subjected to management control pressure. Thence, this thesis concludes and contributes with insights about three dimensions of perceived control exposure in/as MA-situation. First, as to what it is about MA (PMSs) that tends to be associated with high perceived exposure and associated reproduction of performer structures. Second, as to how MA (PMSs) can visualize aspects of the work processes of controlled in different ways and thus inform intra-individual variation in reproduction of both structures. Finally, as to how PMSs can help (re)construct professional values with resulting ambivalent perceptions of them – and how such insight adds to what we know about unpredictability of MA practices.Further, this thesis overall is perhaps best referred to as adopting an emergent multimethod approach. It approaches how to understand MA when ‘institutions matter’ both through an extensive literature review but also through qualitative and quantitative empirical research (by using semi-structured interviews as well as a survey).

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