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Making Business Partners: A Case Study on how Management Accounting Culture was Changed


  • Marko Jarvenpaa


There has been a lot of debate on the new business-oriented role of management accountants during recent years. This paper examines how a case company is trying to change its management accounting culture in practice. Furthermore, it illustrates how accounting practices are woven into the cultural fabric of an organization and the great diversity of practices constituting its business orientation. This longitudinal case study explores and theorizes the multiple cultural change interventions related to management accounting, including how the case company reorganized the management accounting organization, implemented new accounting systems and innovations, pursued a new kind of human resource management (recruitment, training and career planning policies) and set the official corporate values in order to support this change. The deepened decentralization of the business controller function, combined with the effective and increasingly centralized basic accounting systems (such as ERP and consolidation packages) and HRM management, were of high importance in establishing the new business orientation. Moreover, informal interventions such as the role modelling and directing of personal attention - carried out by the top management and top financial executives - and storytelling, contributed to the constitution of cultural practices. Thus, the potential power of these informal change interventions and mechanisms should not be underestimated, with further research being, in fact, in great need. As its major theoretical development, at the end of the report, this study introduces a systematic framework of the cultural change interventions related to management accounting.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:16:y:2007:i:1:p:99-142
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180701265903

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    Cited by:

    1. Séna John Ahyee & Sophie Giordano-Spring & Denis Travaille, 2015. "Le management de la responsabilité sociétale influence-t-il significativement les missions du contrôleur de gestion ?," Post-Print hal-01188752, HAL.
    2. Ildikó Réka CARDOS & Stefan PETE, 2011. "Activity-based Costing (ABC) and Activity-based Management(ABM)Implementation – Is This the Solution for Organizations to Gain Profitability?," Romanian Journal of Economics, Institute of National Economy, vol. 32(1(41)), pages 151-168, June.
    3. Fauré, Bertrand & Rouleau, Linda, 2011. "The strategic competence of accountants and middle managers in budget making," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 167-182, April.
    4. Sinikka Moilanen, 2008. "The role of accounting in the management control system: a case study of a family-led firm," Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(3), pages 165-183, October.
    5. Catalin Nicolae Albu & Nadia Albu & Robert Faff & Allan Hodgson, 2008. "The Changing Role Of Accountants In A Transition Economy €“ Evidence From Romania," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 1(10), pages 1-5.
    6. Dan Topor & Ioana Dorin & Alina Putan, 2011. "The Role Of Cost Information In Decision-Making. Case Study," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(13), pages 1-15.
    7. Ildikó Réka CARDOS & Stefan PETE & Vasile Daniel CARDOS, 2012. "An Overview On The Adoption And Implementation Of Activity - Based Costing In Practice," Romanian Journal of Economics, Institute of National Economy, vol. 35(2(44)), pages 185-200, December.

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