Power, ERP systems and resistance to management accounting: a case study
Joao A. Ribeiro
Robert W. Scapens
This paper reports an intensive longitudinal case study carried out in a Portuguese manufacturing organisation in which attempts to promote change through management accounting were made in recent years. In a first pilot visit to the organisation, two puzzling observations were made. Firstly, and particularly in the manufacturing area of the organisation, management accounting systems introduced in recent years were not being used in everyday interactions and practices. Secondly, a newly introduced ERP system was having no apparent impact on management accounting or on the work of management accountants. We found that these observations were related to issues of power. There were different and conflicting conceptions of which rules should be followed in the manufacturing area, and strategic attempts to enact those conceptions (or to resist alternative ones). This paper draws on the insights of the Circuits of Power (Clegg, 1989a) in order to explain, in theoretically informed manner, the puzzling observations in the case.
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