The strategic competence of accountants and middle managers in budget making
This paper aims to advance the notion of the "situated functionality of numbers" (Ahrens & Chapman, 2007) by investigating the practical knowledge of strategy which shapes the calculations performed by accountants and middle managers when they are making a budget. It proposes an in-depth investigation of the budgeting conversations collected during an extensive field study in a large construction firm that had undertaken a new partnership strategy. Drawing on a conversation analytical approach, it identifies three micro-practices of calculation constitutive of the accountants' and middle managers' strategic competence: invoking the usefulness of numbers to activate local projects; constructing the acceptability of numbers to report them to external partners; authorising the plausibility of numbers to reconcile local contingencies and global coherence. The paper then explores how accountants and middle managers come to a mutual understanding of their respective accountabilities when they perform their strategic competence. It ends by discussing the unintended consequences of these transformations in their professional roles.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ahrens, Thomas & Chapman, Christopher S., 2007. "Management accounting as practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 1-27.
- Linda Rouleau, 2005. "Micro-Practices of Strategic Sensemaking and Sensegiving: How Middle Managers Interpret and Sell Change Every Day," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(7), pages 1413-1441, November.
- Abernethy, Margaret A. & Brownell, Peter, 1999. "The role of budgets in organizations facing strategic change: an exploratory study," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 189-204, April.
- Chua, Wai Fong, 2007. "Accounting, measuring, reporting and strategizing - Re-using verbs: A review essay," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(4-5), pages 487-494.
- Fisher, Joseph G. & Frederickson, James R. & Peffer, Sean A., 2006. "Budget negotiations in multi-period settings," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 511-528, August.
- Michael C. Jensen, 2003. "Paying People to Lie: the Truth about the Budgeting Process," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 9(3), pages 379-406.
- Alexander Styhre & Per-Erik Josephson, 2006. "Revisiting site manager work: stuck in the middle?," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 521-528.
- Davila, Tony & Wouters, Marc, 2005. "Managing budget emphasis through the explicit design of conditional budgetary slack," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 587-608.
- Marko Jarvenpaa, 2007. "Making Business Partners: A Case Study on how Management Accounting Culture was Changed," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 99-142.
- Vollmer, Hendrik, 2007. "How to do more with numbers: Elementary stakes, framing, keying, and the three-dimensional character of numerical signs," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 577-600, August.
- Lukka, Kari, 1988. "Budgetary biasing in organizations: Theoretical framework and empirical evidence," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 281-301, April.
- Skærbæk, Peter & Tryggestad, Kjell, 2010. "The role of accounting devices in performing corporate strategy," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 108-124, January.
- Sepani Senaratne & Martin Sexton, 2008. "Managing construction project change: a knowledge management perspective," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(12), pages 1303-1311.
- Sue Llewellyn, 2007. "Accounting as codified discourse," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(6), pages 805-824, December.
- Van der Stede, Wim A., 2000. "The relationship between two consequences of budgetary controls: budgetary slack creation and managerial short-term orientation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 609-622, August.
- Steven W. Floyd, 1997. "Middle Management's Strategic Influence and Organizational Performance," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 465-485, 05.
- Dalvir Samra-Fredericks, 2003. "Strategizing as Lived Experience and Strategists' Everyday Efforts to Shape Strategic Direction," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 141-174, 01.
- Abernethy, Margaret A. & Lillis, Anne M., 1995. "The impact of manufacturing flexibility on management control system design," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 241-258, May.
- Roberts, John, 1991. "The possibilities of accountability," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 355-368.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:3:p:167-182. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.