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Accounting for the horizontal organization: A review essay

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  • Chenhall, Robert H.
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    Abstract

    There have been many approaches that have sought to identify the principles of best practice organizational management. The Horizontal Organization (HO) has been proposed as a method that draws on ideas from marketing, production, organizational behaviour and human resource management. It identifies specific value propositions with a customer-oriented focus and then develops process efficiency and continuous improvements, flattened structures with a team-based focus, human resource policies concerned with empowerment and a supportive and committed culture to help institutionalize change. The key distinguishing feature is to move away from traditional vertical, functional structures to lateral structures, processes and information to support the HO. This essay reviews three approaches, which when taken together, distil the key elements of the HO. These are Ostroff (1999). The horizontal organization, New York, Oxford University Press; Schonberger (1996). World class manufacturing: The Next decade, New York, The Free Press; and Galbraith (2005).Designing the customer-centric organization, a guide to strategy, structure, and process, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass. Of particular interest is how these authors envisage a role for management accounting in the design and application of the HO. The essay will review the essence of HO and critically examine the extent to which there have been complementary developments in management accounting, and how effective practice and research have been in developing a horizontal dimension to management accounting. It is concluded that innovations in management accounting, such as activity-based accounting and holistic performance measurement like balanced scorecards, have not had any significant affects on those developing ideas related to HO. Reasons why this is so are canvassed and areas where accounting innovations may provide valuable input to implementing the HO are discussed. Recent developments in management practices that elaborate on HO and implications for a horizontal dimension to accounting are examined.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4-5 ()
    Pages: 517-550

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:33:y:2008:i:4-5:p:517-550

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos

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    14. Fullerton, Rosemary R. & McWatters, Cheryl S., 2002. "The role of performance measures and incentive systems in relation to the degree of JIT implementation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 711-735, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Cadez, Simon & Guilding, Chris, 2008. "An exploratory investigation of an integrated contingency model of strategic management accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(7-8), pages 836-863.
    2. Frow, Natalie & Marginson, David & Ogden, Stuart, 2010. ""Continuous" budgeting: Reconciling budget flexibility with budgetary control," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 444-461, May.
    3. Hall, Matthew, 2010. "Accounting information and managerial work," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 301-315, April.

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