Online from: 1988
Subject Area: Accounting and Finance
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|Title:||Inertia and management accounting change: The role of ambiguity and contradiction between formal rules and routines|
|Author(s):||Martijn van der Steen, (Department of Accounting, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)|
|Citation:||Martijn van der Steen, (2009) "Inertia and management accounting change: The role of ambiguity and contradiction between formal rules and routines", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 22 Iss: 5, pp.736 - 761|
|Keywords:||Change management, Inertia, Management accounting, Role ambiguity, The Netherlands|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09513570910966351 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The author would like to express his appreciation to Professor Bob Scapens, for his advice and the various discussions about this paper. The author also appreciates the comments and suggestions by the anonymous reviewers and the editors.|
Purpose – This paper aims to investigate ways in which inertia obstructs the adoption of new management accounting rules. Drawing on the view of management accounting as organisational rules and routines, it aims to suggest various ways in which inertia can become more pronounced when new accounting rules challenge existing routines.
Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal case study was conducted at one of the largest banks in The Netherlands. This bank introduced a program called “Results Oriented Management”, which produced various new management accounting rules.
Findings – The paper identifies various ways in which inertia manifested itself when new management accounting rules were introduced. Moreover, the paper shows that ambiguity and contradictions play an important role in the presence of inertia.
Research limitations/implications – The identification of individual-level habits and scripts is a difficult undertaking. Through a focus on the performative and ostensive aspects of routines, some of the processes of inertia and change on an individual level are identified. This is a relevant method for students of management accounting change.
Originality/value – Although it is well known that routines can produce inertia, the process by which this inertia is manifested and how this affects the adoption of new management accounting rules is still unclear. The paper aims to contribute to this understanding.
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