Title: Complexity of accounting change during corporatisation: insights from two case studies

Authors: Nor Aziah Abu Kasim; Rasid Mail

Addresses: Graduate School of Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia ' School of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, P.O. Box No. 2073, 88999 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Abstract: This paper analyses the differences and/or similarities of the process of accounting change and its consequences in two corporatised public utility organisations which are expected by the government to transform themselves into self-financing, efficient and profitable organisations. The explanatory case study method, using mainly semi-structured interviews and document reviews, was adopted. Accounting change was initiated through the mechanisms of institutional isomorphism and was enacted due to intertwined legitimacy and efficiency reasons. In spite of the efficiency reason, both cases demonstrated unsuccessful transformation due to incompatible ways of thinking, internal and external constraints and the mobilisation of power and the risks in actors' relations. Both case studies similarly capture the complexity and stability of the ongoing process of accounting change during which the ingrained public service values and practices remained stable in spite of corporatisation. However, during the later stage, the leadership factor successfully promoted the use of accounting as the new organisational knowledge within one of the case organisations. Insights from these case studies show that the enactment of the so-called 'efficient' accounting system is neither deterministic nor simple, but evolves from a combination of issues.

Keywords: accounting change; complexity; stability; leadership; institutional isomorphism; corporatisation; public utilities; public service values; public services; Malaysia.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2013.055180

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2013 Vol.5 No.2, pp.143 - 155

Available online: 22 Jul 2013 *

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