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Type: Theses
Title: The role of the user in accounting for SME wine businesses
Author: Reddaway, Melanie Jayne
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: This thesis consists of four papers exploring the role of the user in accounting for wine businesses that are small or medium enterprises (SMEs). The first paper considers the concept of vernacular accounting, as contributed by Kilfoyle, Richardson and MacDonald (2013) in the context of SMEs. Kilfoyle et al.’s (2013) vernacular accounting ideal types are translated to the SME context via descriptions of observed uses of vernacular accounting in firm level contexts. It is noted that in all examples provided, owners and/or top level management were involved, rendering the consideration of sanction redundant. The animation of Kilfoyle et al.’s (2013) ideal types shows, in the SME context at least, the distinction between “formal” and “informal” systems is not important. What is vital, however, is researcher awareness of the fundamental importance of these types of systems. Research that focuses only on more traditional concepts of what constitutes a firm’s accounting system runs the risk of considering an incomplete section of a firm’s system, and therefore invalidly underestimating its capabilities. The second paper explores sophistication of product costing systems, expanding the work of Brierley (2008) in the context of SMEs, with an emphasis on the role of the users of the systems. Using the SME setting removes the assumption implicit in existing research that product costing systems are developed, operated and translated to non-accountants by accounting experts. In the scarcely resourced SME environment, approaches to product costing can be observed where costing is used by staff with a range of skill sets, facilitating the examination of the differences generated by the absence and availability of in-house costing expertise. I argue that the concept of sophistication as measured in existing literature needs to be broadened to encapsulate informal types of sophistication, and our conceptualisation of systems need to be expanded to explicitly incorporate the users of the system. This paper works towards achieving a synthesis of knowledge by proposing a typology for conceptualising the sophistication of SME costing systems. Overall, I argue the value of moving beyond preoccupations with informality and formality, and similarly looking beyond system specific measures of sophistication. The third paper explores stakeholders’ experiences of isomorphic forces in a patchy institutional field. A wine industry endorsed costing approach was adopted as a proxy for a strong field level frame. DiMaggio and Powell’s (1983) typology of isomorphic forces was employed as a conceptual lens to examine four different responses to the frame: a firm displaying an approach aligned to the focal frame, a firm that aspired towards compliance, a firm that had rejected the frame, and a firm that was not knowledgeable about the frame. Through a process of comparison and contrast of key stakeholders’ experiences, each stakeholder is shown to experience one or two of the categories of isomorphic forces, but not all. It also became apparent that, for the small data set, each of Di Maggio and Powell’s isomorphic forces could be aligned to consideration of a firm characteristic; thus aligning institutional and contingency theory driven observations. The fourth paper explores the coexistence of conflicting institutional logics displayed by key stakeholders from SME wineries. While initial developments on institutional logics focussed on the change from one dominant logic to another, recent work has developed an understanding of how conflicting logics can coexist in a state of relative stability. This paper contributes the concept of “logic-carriers” – stakeholders who are trusted to consistently display a dominance of a particular logic. Interactions between winemakers displaying a dominant aesthetic logic and their counterpart market logic-carrier are examined using Smets, Jarzabkowski, Burke and Spee’s (2015) mechanisms of segregating, bridging and demarcating. Stakeholders are shown to not only tolerate conflicting institutional logics, but actively seek out and bestow power in stakeholders displaying conflicting yet complementary logics.
Advisor: Goodman, Steven Paul
Graves, Christopher
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) (Research by Publication) -- University of Adelaide, Business School, 2018
Keywords: Research by publication
accounting in use
wine business
Australian wine industry
institutional logics
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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