Management Accounting Change in a Chinese State-owned Enterprise: An Institutional Perspective
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
Primarily, this research provides insight on a management accounting change in a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) from institutional perspective. Comprising a qualitative field study, the research examines and explains how and why a management accounting change occurred in the SOE, which is the oldest and largest beer producer in China. The study focuses on the introduction and usage of a Balanced Scorecard (BSC), at both the headquarters and the factory level of the organization. The framework of institutionalization proposed by Burns and Scapens (2000) is utilized as the theoretical framework for this research. The major findings take the form of a comparison between the usage of the BSCs at the headquarters and at the factories. It is found that higher resistance to change occurred in the factories than at headquarters and resulted in the rules required by these management accounting practices to be only loosely coupled with routines embedded in everyday working activities, as the factories carried on brewing their beer. In contrast, behaviors at headquarters were more tightly coupled with the rules of the revised accounting practices. This diversity in the effect of the change process may be explained by the new management accounting practices entailing rules that fit better with the activities and routines carried out at headquarters, and so being more easily institutionalized. In contrast, institutionalization has not had much success in the factories primarily because of a lack of fit between complying with the new rules and maintaining the success of brewing operations, and because of historical circumstances that the factories have had some independence in operational matters, although part of an organizational hierarchy. Given the location of this study in a Chinese setting, the findings may contribute that, despite its Western roots, institutional theory may explain the low success rate of the implementation of the BSC in China.