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Management accounting and sensemaking - a grounded theory study of Maltese manufacturing SMEs

Management accounting and sensemaking - a grounded theory study of Maltese manufacturing SMEs
Management accounting and sensemaking - a grounded theory study of Maltese manufacturing SMEs
This research investigates the role of management accounting within Maltese manufacturing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). In particular it focuses on the interaction between users and providers of accounting information. SMEs make a substantial contribution towards value-added and employment in many of the major economies and particularly so in a small country like Malta. In spite of their importance, studies of management accounting practices and processes in this sector have been rather limited. Taking an Interpretive approach, this research uses Corbin and Strauss's (2008) Grounded Theory methodology to develop a substantive theory of how management accounting information becomes significant to SME owners. The research reveals that in a scenario where Maltese SMEs are facing increased uncertainty, management accounting information performs an enabling function as it provides a fundamental input to organisational sensemaking. This process is labelled 'enabling sensemaking through accounting information'. In order for this to take place, a number of intervening conditions need to be satisfied. First and foremost a trust threshold needs to be overcome before accountants are allowed to provide the required information. Then accountants have to make sure that they gain in-depth knowledge not only of the business functions but also the owners' vision for the business. Owners on their part need to enable the accountants so that they may effectively perform their roles. This research contributes to Interpretive accounting research by extending the knowledge of the phenomenon of sensemaking in a previously unexplored setting. It demonstrates how management accounting and sensemaking are interwoven within a sophisticated framework that requires users and providers of accounting information to develop a strong personal relationship within SMEs. It also extends the knowledge of the way in which trust plays a fundamental role in this type of relationship. The study also serves to extend the applicability of Grounded Theory methodology and shows how it provides an ideal platform to explore the management accounting phenomenon as a complex behavioural construct.
Debono, Francis
72b0eb9d-8d1d-453c-a1bb-b023b929bbe5
Debono, Francis
72b0eb9d-8d1d-453c-a1bb-b023b929bbe5
Goddard, Andrew
1bee5bd5-13fe-43e5-9c7d-a23acdf431b2

Debono, Francis (2014) Management accounting and sensemaking - a grounded theory study of Maltese manufacturing SMEs. University of Southampton, School of Management, Doctoral Thesis, 235pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This research investigates the role of management accounting within Maltese manufacturing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). In particular it focuses on the interaction between users and providers of accounting information. SMEs make a substantial contribution towards value-added and employment in many of the major economies and particularly so in a small country like Malta. In spite of their importance, studies of management accounting practices and processes in this sector have been rather limited. Taking an Interpretive approach, this research uses Corbin and Strauss's (2008) Grounded Theory methodology to develop a substantive theory of how management accounting information becomes significant to SME owners. The research reveals that in a scenario where Maltese SMEs are facing increased uncertainty, management accounting information performs an enabling function as it provides a fundamental input to organisational sensemaking. This process is labelled 'enabling sensemaking through accounting information'. In order for this to take place, a number of intervening conditions need to be satisfied. First and foremost a trust threshold needs to be overcome before accountants are allowed to provide the required information. Then accountants have to make sure that they gain in-depth knowledge not only of the business functions but also the owners' vision for the business. Owners on their part need to enable the accountants so that they may effectively perform their roles. This research contributes to Interpretive accounting research by extending the knowledge of the phenomenon of sensemaking in a previously unexplored setting. It demonstrates how management accounting and sensemaking are interwoven within a sophisticated framework that requires users and providers of accounting information to develop a strong personal relationship within SMEs. It also extends the knowledge of the way in which trust plays a fundamental role in this type of relationship. The study also serves to extend the applicability of Grounded Theory methodology and shows how it provides an ideal platform to explore the management accounting phenomenon as a complex behavioural construct.

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More information

Published date: October 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Business School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 370130
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/370130
PURE UUID: 5b92391f-98e3-4845-8e08-5b4913223e7c

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Date deposited: 27 Oct 2014 12:49
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:53

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Contributors

Author: Francis Debono
Thesis advisor: Andrew Goddard

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