لجستیک معکوس در بخش خرده فروشی یو کی : یکی دیگر از بررسی های نقش حسابداری مدیریت در ایجاد تغییر سازمانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10319||2013||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 24, Issue 3, September 2013, Pages 212–227
This paper illustrates how interventionist research can be helpful in providing managerially relevant solutions and furthers the debate about the relationship between social science research and practice. Through this use of interventionist methods, the paper contributes to knowledge by illustrating the way in which management accounting was used alongside other managerial disciplines in a UK retail organisation to promote change and influence outcomes. Specifically, the paper focuses on changes to the reverse logistics processes of the organisation and the important role that management accounting played. It also illustrates the use of management accounting in the pursuit of strategic and commercial advantage. As researchers, our work was grounded in action rather than being just observers.
This paper explores the engagement of management accounting in organisational change (Ahrens and Chapman, 2007 and Burns and Scapens, 2000) and the role of accounting in the pursuit of strategic and commercial advantage (Ahrens and Chapman, 2007). In line with Jørgensen and Messner's (2010) call to examine accounting in terms of how it relates to, and intersects with, other types of activities, our paper focuses on the relationship with the management of reverse logistics processes. Reverse logistics concerns the management of a product or service after the point of sale and particularly focuses on the management of returns. We explore this through a case study of one organisation, Halfords plc, within the UK retail sector. Halfords plc is a UK based company that is in the FTSE 250 and had a market capitalisation of approximately £894 million at the time of the empirical research. In terms of the literature, Ahrens and Chapman (2007) suggest that, whilst contemporary discussion of management control (e.g. Kaplan and Norton, 1996 and Simons, 1995) frequently seeks to address strategic concerns, the literature does not tend to elaborate on specific activities through which these concerns may be addressed. Similarly, Jørgensen and Messner (2010) call for more research on the relationship between accounting and strategising. This paper seeks to provide an illustration of management accounting practice and its interconnections with other organisational practices in the pursuit of strategic and commercial advantage. Engaging with this management accounting practice theme, Malmi (2010) reflects on a paper he wrote with colleagues (Malmi et al., 2004) on the application of quality costing. He highlights the fact that the 2004 paper has few citations and that this may reflect the view that “it has not been accepted that researchers can innovate something and lead the way for practitioners” (p. 2). Taking a management accounting practice perspective, our paper seeks to disprove this assumption and argues the importance of such research in terms of both theoretical contribution and practical relevance. In methodological terms, we use interventionist research which has been the subject of some debate in recent management accounting literature (Baldvinsdottir et al., 2010). The polyphonic debate (Ahrens et al., 2008) engaged a number of academics in trying to identify ways forward with regard to the future of interpretive accounting research. Of relevance to this paper is the debate about the nature of engagement with practitioners. Granlund, in Ahrens et al. (2008), suggests that there is space in the interpretive accounting research agenda for interventionist research approaches. In the same article, Mennicken argues that practice should inform our research agenda whilst Mikes suggests that a growing number of practitioners are showing an interest in the findings of interpretive accounting research. Chua (2011) reflects that research should make strong and deep connections with practice. Further, Parker (2008) insists that we should reflect on what could or should be and not to worry too much about being labelled under the unfashionable brand of normativism. Our contention here is that by using interventionist research methods, we were able to engage practitioners in a research process that was of interest to them. In this paper, we engage with both theory and craft knowledge of accountants (Scapens, 2008) and other managers engaged in the reverse logistics processes. We see this engagement like Wouters and Roijmans (2011) as a journey of joint discovery between ourselves as academics and practitioners engaged within the case organisation. Whilst this journey of discovery needs to incorporate a “better understanding of the processes by which management accounting knowledge is produced, disseminated and operationalised” (Seal, 2010, p. 2), we would argue, in contrast to Wouters and Roijmans (2011), that our work takes knowledge further forward by providing some more convincing evidence of the impact of this joint discovery. In summary, the research puzzle in this paper is an exploration of the way in which management accounting became embedded in the reverse logistics processes at Halfords and, in order to engage with this puzzle, we address the following two research questions: (1) How is management accounting engaged in changing the reverse logistics processes in the case study company? (2) What is the role of interventionist research in contributing to our understanding of management accounting practice? The paper starts with a brief review of some relevant literature and then introduces the concept of reverse logistics. This is followed by an overview of the research method adopted and an explanation of the interventionist nature of the research. The Halfords case study is then introduced and this is followed by a discussion related to the research questions. Finally, concluding thoughts are presented.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In our paper, we sought to extend our knowledge of management accounting practice through its engagement with other managerial disciplines. The paper contributes to the literature on management accounting practice by providing evidence of the practical commercial and strategic use of management accounting. Previous literature has been limited in terms of elaborating on the specific activities through which such commercial and strategic concerns are addressed (Ahrens and Chapman, 2007). Whilst exploring the relationship between management accounting and reverse logistics processes, we also highlighted the outcomes of the interaction and the process of strategising (Jørgensen and Messner, 2010) which resulted in the creation of a new USP for the organisation. In terms of outcomes, we also extend the work of Wouters and Roijmans (2011) since they were relatively silent on the long term outcomes associated with the creation of the new enabling PMS in the logistics area. We also believe that the use of an interventionist approach to the study of management accounting practice has strengthened the evidence base presented in the paper. Influencing, as well as exploring, the everyday lives of management accountants and reverse logistics practitioners adds to the literature in a way in which other non-interventionist approaches may not do so. Our use of interventionist research in this context is an example of the way in which researchers should be empowered to use whatever method or combination of methods that enables them to engage with a phenomenon and generate credible knowledge (Richardson, 2012). We do not deny the value of other forms of qualitative research but feel that interventionist research has created a real opportunity to advance knowledge. A further contribution is the way in which we extended the concept of place beyond the one organisation. Supplier performance is now interwoven into understandings of stores performance in a way that illustrates the manner in which practices are embedded within the organisation. Everyday life involved conversations with suppliers and customers that were previously not evident in this organisation. It would not have been possible for the organisation in isolation to make significant improvements and the new data facilitated meaningful discussions with other members of the supply chain. Whilst there has been other interventionist research looking at supply chain issues (for example, Suomala et al., 2010), this paper adds to the limited coverage of interventionist research methods in the supply chain and inter-organisational accounting literature. Extended engagement with both suppliers and customers was an important part of the change processes taking place in the organisation. By using interventionist research, we were able to engage in problems being faced by the case organisation and to provide narratives of purposeful activity (Ahrens and Chapman, 2007) between management accounting and other organisational practices. Our conjecture is that Chris Hall and the management accountants at Halfords gained internal legitimacy through engagement with the wider practice community and this enabled changes to the reverse logistics management processes to be made. Also, the different discipline backgrounds of the researchers (accounting, supply chain and logistics) allowed us to interact with the managers and create new opportunities for fruitful engagement (Chua, 2011). Whilst the role of interventionist research can be controversial, we would argue that our presence facilitated dialogue which might not have otherwise occurred. We were in many ways part of the wider practice community which helped foster internal legitimacy within Halfords. Our paper therefore provides evidence that, in contrast with the concerned views of Malmi (2010), researchers can innovate something and lead the way for practitioners. However, we have to be careful here since the real step forward was by combining the theoretical knowledge of accounting researchers with the craft knowledge of accountants and other managers engaged in the reverse logistics process (Scapens, 2008). In isolation, neither party would have been able to make as significant a contribution to both theory and practice. In doing our research this way, our paper has addressed calls for interventionist research to be used as a way of undertaking interpretive management accounting research (Malmi, 2010). It may also encourage practitioners to show an interest in interpretative accounting research (Mikes in Ahrens et al., 2008) as well as contributing to the wider social science research agenda by providing an illustration of the way in which such research can contribute to management accounting practice (Baldvinsdottir et al., 2010). Advancing theoretical knowledge arises from the joint discovery of new ways of exploring how accounting interacts with other management disciplines in the pursuit of commercial and strategic advantage. We engaged ourselves as researchers and as such our work was “grounded in action” (Jönsson and Lukka, 2007). The resulting changes in process and accountability led to improved outcomes and the emic nature of the research allowed us to both help with organisational challenges and add to the literature on managerialism through additional etic reflection on the results of the intervention. We believe that taking a managerialist perspective has enabled us appreciate and understand how management accounting and management accountants became implicated in the day-to-day management of reverse logistics as well as contributing to strategic development of the organisation. The emphasis in the organisation was on how management accounting can contribute to the reverse logistics process through quality costing and performance measurement in order to improve the bottom-line. Palmer (1998) argues that managerialism focuses on attaining results, creating clear goals and objectives, and identifying techniques to measure these (see also Hoskin and Macve, 1994). The emphasis here is on value creation and as Baxter and Chua (2003, p. 100) observe “management accounting practice is inexorably intertwined with ‘managerialist’ systems of ideology and manifest in, for example, constructions of ‘value”’. It is our hope that, as suggested by Suomala and Lyly-Yrjänäinen (2009), our paper will contribute to knowledge by encouraging more researchers (and organisations) to recognise the potential of interventionist research in terms of both addressing organisational problems and contributing to theory development. In conclusion, we were not afraid of being too normative (Ter Bogt and van Helden, 2012) by creating new tools rather than merely trying to understand how management accounting tools work in practice. Through taking this approach, we feel that our work has contributed to knowledge by illustrating the way in which management accounting has been used alongside other disciplines to promote change and influence outcomes. In terms of future research, we suggest that there is great value in interventionist research being undertaken by interdisciplinary research teams. Chua (2011) suggests that frequent interdisciplinary engagement with diverse others would open up the possibility of new innovative ideas. For example supply chain relationships, identified in this paper, and network relationships are important features of organisational life and, whilst there is a growing literature on “accounting in networks” (e.g. Håkansson et al., 2010), significant opportunities exist to further engage interventionist research in addressing managerial concerns in this area of growing academic and practical importance. Further case studies of engagement are required in order to gather evidence of the outcomes of such engagement from both a theoretical and practical point of view.