Cultural interventions in the management accountant's role formation - Case: Orange Group / Homeware

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The objective for this study is to critically examine the management accountant's role formation and organizational identity. The role formation is examined through the interplay between organizational cultural interventions, identity work and the management accountant's self-identity. This study takes a post-structural perspective on culture, not primarily focusing on structural factors, but the meanings conveyed by cultural interventions. The management accountant's role formation is analysed through the following four research questions: 1.How do different organizational cultural interventions facilitate the management accountant's role formation? 2.How does the management accountant's self-identity affect his/her role formation? 3.What kind of interplay do organizational cultural interventions and the management ac-countant's identity processes create? 4.What other factors may affect the management accountant's role formation? RESEARCH METHOD AND DATA The study's theoretical framework is based on academic literature on management accounting change and identity formation theory. The study is a single-company case study. The empirical research data was gathered by extensive background work by collecting the case company's internal data and informal interviews, followed by a series of semi-structured interviews focusing on the company's largest Finnish business unit. Interviewees included management accountants from the business unit and Europe business region, as well as the group's finance development director. FINDINGS OF THE STUDY The study's theoretical framework extends the model of identity formation by Alvesson & Willmott (2002) by linking it to academic research on management accounting change. The study's empirical findings suggest that organizational cultural interventions and the management accountant's self-identity are closely intertwined in the formation of his/her organizational identity and role. Organizational cultural interventions are a significant medium of identity regulation, as they frame and direct the management accountant's identity work. When aligned with the management accountant's self-identity, cultural interventions may also be a strong source of empowerment. The management accountant's self-identity then positions his/her organizational identity within the boundaries created by cultural interventions. A loose formal rule system may also increase the potency of both cultural interventions and self-identity in organizational identity formation.
management accounting change, management accountant, controller, cultural intervention, business orientation, identity formation, role formation
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