Understanding management accounting change using strong structuration frameworks

Lisa Janet Jack, Georgios Makrygiannikis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to suggest a strong structuration based framework for the study of management accounting change.

Design/methodology/approach - A retrospective field study was designed to investigate the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on budgeting and control practices of Greek hospitality organisations. Conduct analysis addresses agents’ perceptions of the changes upon themselves. Context analysis explores the changing context, and how the agents modified their in-situ control structures accordingly. The framework is demonstrated through one case study.

Findings - The agents in the case, triggered by the crisis, gradually come to criticise the way they practice budgeting. Their first response is to practice budgeting more normatively, but later they criticise and modify these norms. Variance management became pro-active rather than reactive. Variations in the ways agents draw upon structures – unreflectively or critically – and on how they act to reproduce structures – routinely or strategically – characterise change in management accounting practice. Agents’ reasoning and conduct leading to action is local, and these local changes in conduct and context are significant in understanding management accounting change.

Originality/Value - 
This framework for studying management accounting change balances structural conditions of action, with action and interaction. It can be used to study how, why, and by whom institutionalised management accounting practices may change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1258
Number of pages28
JournalAccounting Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number7
Early online date31 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • change
  • strong structuration
  • hotels
  • budgeting
  • crisis


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