Investigation and theorization of the adoption of strategic management accounting (SMA) practices in large U.K. organizations.

Ma, Yi

November 2007

Thesis or dissertation

© 2007 Yi Ma. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This study focuses on an investigation of the recent development of SMA practices in large UK business organizations. SMA is introduced as an evolving concept and its development over the past two decades are summarized. To facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of SMA practice, it is argued that better understanding of SMA practices requires researchers to recognize the broad themes embedded in strategy and management accounting change literature.

This study is defined as exploratory in nature, reflecting the researcher's intention of offering in-depth understanding of SMA practices in their organizational, economic and social contexts. The research work is conducted in two major steps. A questionnaire survey was employed as the first step to obtain an overview of the adoption of SMA practices in a small sample of large UK companies. As a second step, two large companies, ULE and Meditech, were subject to further case study research.

In analysing the case evidence, a neoinstitutional framework is employed to provide an explanation of the accounting changes which occurred in the adoption of SMA in organizational settings. Both case studies shed light on the evolution processes of SMA practices and the successful management 2 accounting changes towards a greater strategic orientation. The external environments of both case companies seem to indicate that current SMA practices are strongly framed and driven by factors at the macro level, at which various and considerable pressures of convergence currently are at work. But the research also suggests that similar influences from the external environment do not lead to a similar process of SMA adoption in the case companies. Changes are also shaped by the intraorganizational battling of different interests and the power that exist within the companies.

Business School, The University of Hull
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