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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|17070||2003||25 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 14, Issue 2, June 2003, Pages 140–164
This paper examines the diffusion of transfer pricing as an innovation in a government trading enterprise (GTE) as it moved from protected monopolistic status to commercialization. Using data from semi-structured interviews and documentation, the paper draws on theories of transfer pricing choice and diffusion of innovation to analyse and explain events surrounding the introduction, abandonment and reintroduction of transfer pricing in the case organization over the ten-year period from 1991 to 2000. The study demonstrates the importance of multiple theories and perspectives in understanding how and why management accounting innovations diffuse or not, as well as the importance of focusing on the secondary stage of innovation adoption and on organizational values, norms and past experiences as they affect secondary adoption. The study also provides support for the role of transfer pricing as an accounting mechanism to effect cultural and strategic change in organizations and for the reciprocal relationship between transfer pricing and organizational strategy over time.
This paper examines the diffusion of transfer pricing as an innovation in a government trading enterprise (GTE) during a period when the enterprise underwent major management and structural changes associated with movement from a protected monopolistic status towards competition, commercialization and corporatization in a deregulated market environment. The enterprise is a major energy distributor and retailer in Australia and is referred to in this paper as Energy. Transfer pricing was one of a number of changes in the management and accounting practices of Energy which, as a GTE, was at the forefront of government pressure for financial, management and structural reform of public sector organizations during the late 1980s and 1990s. Transfer pricing has been the subject of much research over many years (van der Meer-Kooistra, 1994, p. 123), being seen as “at the heart of inter-profit center relations” (Ghosh, 2000, p. 661), a pervasive issue in the design and implementation of management information and control systems (Emmanuel et al., 1990, p. 277; Colbert and Spicer, 1995, p. 423), and important in terms of strategic and operational decisions in organizations and having behavioral and performance appraisal consequences (van Helden et al., 2001, p. 358; Boyns et al., 1999, p. 85). Despite this, Boyns et al. (1999, p. 85) argue that “our understanding of the determinants of the choice of transfer price is (still) patchy.” The literature on the determinants of transfer pricing choice comprises theories and approaches which seek to prescribe or predict the method of transfer pricing (e.g. cost versus market) based on elements of organizational context. Discussed more fully later, these theories and approaches typically view transfer pricing as being determined by organizational contextual factors such as structure (Watson and Baumler, 1975), vertical integration and diversification (Eccles, 1985), strategy, intra-firm transactional context, structure and control systems (Spicer, 1988, Colbert and Spicer, 1995, Emmanuel and Mehafdi, 1994 and van der Meer-Kooistra, 1994). Common to these approaches are two assumptions. The first is that transfer pricing choice and change can be understood through contingent relations with contextual factors drawn from the economics of internal organization and transaction cost theories. The second assumption is that transfer pricing is determined by those factors, particularly strategy and structure (including both organizational and transactional structure). Contemporary research, however, suggests that such assumptions, while necessary, are not sufficient to provide a full understanding of transfer pricing choice and change. With respect to the first assumption, Boyns et al. (1999), for example, argue from their longitudinal study of transfer pricing in a UK coal and iron company, that corporate history, power and evolution must also be considered. Similarly, in their study of Hoogovens Steel in The Netherlands, van Helden et al. (2001) note the importance of history and organizational learning in understanding the development of a transfer pricing system over time, and its linkages with (changing) organizational structure and broader management control systems. With respect to the second assumption, Boyns et al. (1999) provide evidence to suggest that transfer pricing might not be a product of strategy, but might be used to enact strategy. Contemporary research also stresses the importance of understanding the process and dynamics of transfer pricing change. van Helden et al. (2001) note that there “has been very little research into the processes through which transfer pricing practices emerge over time in individual organizations,” and van der Meer-Kooistra (1994, p. 150) also state: Transfer pricing systems are in a permanent state of flux, not only because of changing circumstances, but also because the parties involved learn as they go along. Therefore research into the functioning of transfer pricing systems has to take full account of the processes of change and adaption, or the dynamics of the phenomenon. The present study seeks to develop our understanding of transfer pricing choice and change by drawing on, and combining, the above approaches. Specifically, the study is designed to incorporate both the technical contingency approaches which posit appropriate configurations of contextual factors and transfer pricing methods; and what may be called the processual approaches which posit the changing nature of transfer pricing and which require the study of organizational history and learning, and focus on movements in the transfer pricing phenomenon over organizational time and space. In seeking to achieve this objective, the study is longitudinal and draws on multiple theories. Longitude is required to capture the influences of organizational history and learning, and to examine the movement and change in both transfer pricing itself and other organizational systems and linkages with which transfer pricing is implicated. Our approach, therefore, is consistent with van Helden et al. (2001), who use a longitudinal time frame to explore the tensions and conflict (and the resolution thereof) over changes to the transfer pricing system and linked organizational systems (in their case, linked systems of performance measurement and control). Finally, a longitudinal study provides the opportunity to shed light on the question raised by Boyns et al. (1999) of whether transfer pricing is a product of organizational strategy or an instrument to effect strategy. The time frame for analysis in our study is the ten-year period 1991–2000. This period is of considerable utility for the purposes of the study. First, it contains the complete history of transfer pricing in Energy to date, including three significant events in that history; notably the introduction of transfer pricing in 1991, its abandonment in 1995 in the face of internal opposition and lack of acceptance, and its reintroduction in 1998. This period of study should, therefore, be rich in revealing the factors (including the tensions and conflicts) associated with transfer pricing change, particularly its adoption, rejection and re-adoption. Second, the time period was one in which Energy itself was undergoing major strategic, structural and cultural change associated with governmental pressure for reform. Hence, the study should also bring into strong relief the process and dynamics of transfer pricing and its interactions with organizational strategy, structure and culture. Multiple theories and literatures are required because no theory or literature of itself is capable of explaining both the technical contingency and the processual dynamics approaches to transfer pricing change. In this study we draw on the transfer pricing literature and theories contained therein, and the diffusion of innovation literature and theory. Diffusion of innovation theory is particularly relevant a priori as, although transfer pricing was a well-established management accounting practice generally in 1991 (particularly in private sector organizations), it was new to the case organization and, hence, constituted an innovation (Rogers, 1995, p. 11). Its subsequent abandonment in 1995 and re-introduction in 1998 provide, again a priori, fertile ground for the diffusion of innovation theory given its relevance to understanding why some innovations diffuse and others do not, or why some diffuse at particular points of time in an organization’s history but not at others. The paper is organized as follows. First, we discuss the literature on diffusion of innovation which we use at the general level to provide a framework for, and the contextual characteristics and processes associated with, adoption of innovation. We then elaborate on the transfer pricing literature, which we use at the specific level to examine transfer pricing choice and its contingency configurations. In this way we layer the multiple theories drawn on for their relevance at different levels of analysis and for their different perspectives on transfer pricing. Following that, we discuss the research method including data collection, and then present and analyse the data against the general diffusion of innovation and specific transfer pricing frameworks for each of the two instances of transfer pricing introduction in Energy.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper examined the diffusion of transfer pricing in a GTE during a period when the enterprise underwent major management and structural changes in moving from a protected monopolistic status to one of exposure to competition and commercialization in a deregulated market environment. The study allows several conclusions and contributions, the first of which is the need to be open to multiple theories and perspectives in seeking to understand “how and why management accounting innovations either diffuse or not, and why management accounting systems are changed” (Malmi, 1999, p. 669). Our study has shown the importance of technical theories and perspectives associated with understanding transfer pricing change. Specifically, the study showed that the transfer pricing choice in Energy was consistent with the technical contingency frameworks of Eccles (1985), Spicer (1988), van der Meer-Kooistra (1994) and Colbert and Spicer (1995) at both the times of introduction and re-introduction of transfer pricing in 1991 and 1998. That is, the transfer pricing choice was consistent with the internal organizational contextual factors of strategy and structure, including both organizational and transactional structure, posited in these theories as determinants of such choice. As such, our study lends support to these theories with respect to the factors that influence transfer pricing choice. However, these theories, while important and necessary in explanation, were partial in that they could not explain why transfer pricing was rejected in 1995 and accepted on reintroduction in 1998, despite consistency with the contingency frameworks at both times. For a comprehensive explanation of accounting change in Energy, the technical theories of transfer pricing choice needed to be overlaid, or supplemented, with theories which locate the accounting practice within the broader perspective of an innovation. Specifically, recourse to Rogers’ (1995) diffusion of innovation theory, and to Gallivan’s (2001) theory of secondary stage adoption of innovation, was necessary to explain transfer pricing’s rejection at the organizational level of Energy in 1995 and its acceptance in 1998. Hence, our study adds to the factors needed to explain transfer pricing choice within organizations. Two contributions of our study to extant theories of transfer pricing choice and change, and accounting change more generally, are (i) the importance of focusing on the secondary (implementation) stage of innovation adoption when overlaying or supplementing technical theories with innovation adoption theories at the organizational level, and (ii) the importance of focusing on the subjective values, norms and past experiences of target adopters and the organizational and social systems within which they operate. The importance of focusing on the secondary stage of adoption is clearly visible in our study because it was at this stage that transfer pricing was first rejected and then accepted following the two mandated primary stages of adoption in 1991 and 1998. The importance of subjective values, norms and experiences of target adopters is also clearly visible, as it was these that constituted the organizational climate or culture in Energy into which transfer pricing was twice introduced and which conditioned responses thereto: rejection during the first introduction when the connotations of intra-organizational separation and competition implicit in transfer pricing were incompatible with the culture which reflected organizational unity; and acceptance at the second introduction when the culture had changed to be more consistent with the competitive, market-facing orientation of transfer pricing. With the exception of van Helden et al. (2001), studies and theories of transfer pricing change have typically not included consideration of organizational climate and culture, nor have they focused on longitudinally tracing such change from primary adoption to the critical secondary stage of acceptance or rejection at individual and group level within the organization. Our study suggests that future studies of transfer pricing change, or accounting change more generally, need to encompass both these considerations. Another contribution of our study is the evidence it provides on the relationship between transfer pricing and strategy. As noted at the beginning of the paper, the majority of theories of transfer pricing choice and change (including Eccles, 1985; Spicer, 1988; Emmanuel and Mehafdi, 1994 and Colbert and Spicer, 1995) theorize transfer pricing as determined by strategy, while Boyns et al. (1999) provided evidence for an alternative view that transfer pricing may be used to enact strategy. This gave rise to what Boyns et al. (1999, p. 104) describe as a key question of “whether transfer pricing policy is a result of strategy or an instrument of strategic change.” Our study suggests that transfer pricing choice may be both result and instrument, and may vary between the two in the same organization over time. Interpreting strategy broadly, transfer pricing was used in its first introduction (in 1991) as one of a number of instruments to effect change in the strategy and structure of Energy from an emphasis on the technical excellence of service provision and a disorientation to markets, to an emphasis on commercialization and a market orientation. As demonstrated in the paper, although transfer pricing was abandoned in 1995, it fulfilled the role (along with other financial and commercial reform measures) of an instrument to effect strategic and cultural change. Our study, therefore, allows insight into how an accounting practice or mechanism can help an organization shift from one governance regime to another by occasioning changes in ways of thinking and behaving and in the climate and culture of the organization.7 With those changes effected, the second introduction of transfer pricing (in 1998) may be seen as a consequence of strategy, culture and structure—following from the restructuring of Energy in 1998 into separate divisions trading internally and externally in a highly competitive market. Our study also shows the benefits of longitudinal case research, as argued and advocated by van Helden et al. (2001). Such an approach allowed us sufficient time to observe the critical secondary stage of innovation adoption, and to be able to contrast the two sub-periods in the longitudinal time frame which differed crucially in terms of organizational responses to transfer pricing as an innovation. This allowed us to examine and contrast the sub-periods for either the presence or absence of Rogers’ (1995) characteristics affecting innovation diffusion. The two sub-periods were highly consistent with respect to the relationship between the acceptance (and rejection) of transfer pricing and the presence (and absence) of Rogers’ characteristics. This consistency lends support to the efficacy of the Rogers’ (1995) framework, as well as the importance of studying diffusion of accounting innovation over a sufficiently long period of time. The longitudinal time frame also made visible the reciprocal relationship between transfer pricing and strategy, which would not have been captured with study of just one of the two sub-periods. As with all case studies, there are questions of validity and generalizability. While we took measures to enhance the validity and reliability of the study (discussed in Section 4), it must be acknowledged that our data were restricted to the interviewees and documentation (public and proprietary) to which we gained access, and our interpretation was focused and circumscribed through the particular interpretational lens we used. Of further support to our findings, however, is the concept of the constructive approach detailed in Kasanen et al. (1993). Kasanen et al. (1993, pp. 259–260) argue that if it can be shown that a managerial construction (in this instance, transfer pricing) both works in solving problems in its practical context and has theoretical underpinning as to why it works, this is support for both the validity and generalizability of the construction. Our study has demonstrated that transfer pricing provided a “working solution” to problems encountered during the process of commercialization at Energy, and that transfer pricing theory and diffusion of innovation theory combined to provide explanation and understanding of how transfer pricing functioned in this role. In the presence of these two conditions, we draw on Kasanen et al. (1993, p. 260) to suggest that our results paint a valid and potentially generalizable picture of the role of transfer pricing in the creation of a strategy and culture of commercialization.