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Accounting and Reform Initiatives: Making Sense of Situation-specific Resistance to Accounting
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Dr Shanta Davie
Hopper, T., Hoque, Z.
Accounting and Accountability in Emerging and Transition Economies
Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies Supplement 2
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This research examines and empirically illustrates resistance to change in the context of a radical re-design of accounting practices within a recently corporatised South Pacific state-owned enterprise engaged in afforestation activities. In particular the paper draws attention to how a distant, centralised accounting system places limitations on the very image that accounting is encouraged to espouse, leading to complaints and resistance to the hegemony of the accounting system. Resistance is interpreted in the light of the values of a particular way of life and superior local knowledge of individuals, and how they are both consistent and inconsistent with the value base of a reformist initiative - corporatisation. In highlighting the complex social processes, as well as the changing economic and financial processes associated with such change initiatives, a deliberate distinction is made between: (a) resistance associated with a lack of willingness to provide financial accountings in terms of a management accounting protocol; and, (b) resistance to specific management accounting rules and procedures. Furthermore, different dimensions of resistance within these two broad categories are also more explicitly articulated and considered. This is particularly important for understanding situation-specific resistance to accounting in, for example, a newly corporatised state-owned enterprise, and their actual consequences in change situations. In this paper, four dimensions of resistance to accounting innovation are theorised in the context of: a politics of surveillance and control; loyalty and a search for appreciation; a moral-financial dilemma; and, readiness to change.
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