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Management accounting systems in institutional complexity: Hysteresis and boundaries of practices in social housing

Aziza Laguecir (), Anja Kern and Cécile Kharoubi

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Abstract: This paper examines how organizational actors use Management Accounting Systems (MAS) in a public social housing organization in a context marked by institutional pressures for both social and financial accountability. More specifically, we use practice theory to examine the articulation of practical intelligibility, i.e. how actors make sense of competing institutional pressures in their day-to-day practices while being informed by less financially loaded MAS. Our findings underline that, despite increased institutional pressures on social aspects, actors' compromises reveal the predominance of financial concerns. We show that this might be due to, not only the current institutional pressures or the MAS, but also to the hysteresis of a structuring element of practice: the financially oriented teleo-affective structures imposed by previous NPM reforms. This study also describes the role of ABC/M and practice boundaries in the articulation of practical intelligibility for conflicting institutional pressures and in the way actors compromise.

Keywords: Management accounting systems; NPM; Institutional complexity; Social and financial accountability; Practice theory; Social housing; Hysteresis; Practice boundaries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-12
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Published in Management Accounting Research, Elsevier, 2020, 49, pp.100715. ⟨10.1016/j.mar.2020.100715⟩

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mar.2020.100715

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