Embrace the Change: An embedded case study on the role of change agents in bringing about management accounting change

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Abstract: This paper explores the role of change agents across organisational levels and units in the process of management accounting change. By using an embedded single case approach, an in-depth understanding is received of how the role of change agents should be exercised and by whom. A developed research stream within the management accounting change literature addresses the importance of organisational members and behavioural dynamics in order to understand the process of management accounting change; how it comes about and evolves across time and space. However, previous research has devoted limited attention to the role of change agents in the process of management accounting change. Using the Burns and Scapens' (2000) institutional framework in combination with existing research on change agents within the management accounting change literature, this paper integrates micro- and organisational-level perspectives on the process of institutional change and thereby add a more comprehensive understanding of the management accounting change process. The findings of this study highlight the importance of exploring the role of change agents along three dimensions in a formal management accounting change process: phase of change process, hierarchical levels and organisational units. Furthermore, the findings of this study have managerial implications as they indicate the importance that change agents across organisational levels and units acknowledge and account for the institutional context in which they operate to mobilise organisational members to enact and reproduce new management accounting practices.

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