Management accounting, accountability and organizational change: The case of Botswana firms.

OTHATA, Onktlwile. (2002). Management accounting, accountability and organizational change: The case of Botswana firms. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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The subject of accountability in organizations is originally and widely understood within the framework of economic rationalization. In particular, accountability in mainstream accounting literature has been assumed to be related to the stewardship function and analyzed within the confines of Principal-Agent theory (Laughlin, 1996). The framework assumes that the transfer of economic resources by the Principal to the Agent gives the Principal rights to demand and get accounts and explanations from the Agent (Gray, 1983). Within the same framework, management accounting is seen as a technically oriented and objective practice through which accountability is reinforced. This approach has recently been subjected to critiques from a small but growing amount of literature. In general, the critiques are levelled at the approach's apparent over-emphasis of economics as an overriding influence in the construction of accountability in organizations. In particular, the critiques (e.g., Willmot, 1996) called for alternative approaches that explore the roles played by culture, ethnicity and other social practices. However, there have been few case studies exploring the roles of these alternative influences with Sinclair (1995) and Chew and Greer (1997) providing notable contributions.This thesis pursues these alternative propositions further and uses two longitudinal case studies conducted in Botswana. Botswana, a developing Southern- African postcolonial country is characterized by social practices and culture that are different from the Anglo-Saxon Western social practices and cultures on which the bulk of the research reported in literature is based. Conducting the research in Botswana thus provided the opportunity to explore the influence of wider social values and practices on organizational practices of accountability. A middle range thinking methodology is used to gather, analyze, interpret and make sense of the case data. The thesis developed a skeletal model and used it as a guiding framework and analytical tool for studying the construction of accountability practices in the two case organizations. The thesis further used Sinclair's (1995) forms of accountability to analyze and understand the observed accountability practices and Laughlin's (1991) skeletal models of organizational change to explore the processes of change in accountability practices at the two case organizations.The thesis argues that the construction of accountability at the two case organizations was influenced by four factors namely, (i) culture, (ii) participants' perceptions and capabilities, (iii) the organizational situation and (iv) organizational objectives. A. This thesis further developed and proposed two extensions to Laughlin's (1991) original models of 'second order' colonization type organizational change model. The thesis also developed and proposed extensions to our understanding of Sinclair's (1995) forms of accountabilityOverall the thesis argues and provides empirical evidence that our theorizing of the construction of accountability relationships and practices in business organizations can be enhanced by understanding the culturally determined accountability relationships and practices existing in societies. These social relationships and practices greatly influenced relations and practices in the case organizations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Berry, Tony
Thesis advisor - Coad, Alan
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2002.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 12:13

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