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The role of Management Accounting Practices in shaping efficiency in a Colombian Utility Conglomerate

Barrios Alvarez, Claudia (2018) The role of Management Accounting Practices in shaping efficiency in a Colombian Utility Conglomerate. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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The thesis contributes to generating an understanding of the role of management accounting practices in shaping efficiency in a Colombian Utility Conglomerate (CUC) . Data for the thesis was derived from multiple sources including interviews, non-participative observations and document analysis, reports and archives about CUC, which has helped to understand the studied phenomenon. The thesis, which builds on structuration theory (Giddens 1984, Giddens 1993), delineates the interplay between social structures and agency at CUC, the way this interplay led to the reproduction of the very notion of efficiency. In addition, the thesis extends the work of Englund and Gerdin (2008) by illustrating how management accounting practices can be analytical constructs integrating not only situated recurrent (inter-)actions but also the structural principles that underline those practices. Thus, the thesis analyses the influence of the managerial autonomy, the long-term financial approach and the technostructure in shaping efficiency at CUC (Aristizábal et al. 1988, López 2005, Varela 2011). Additionally, the thesis analyses the broader influence of the School of Mines and multilateral development banks to enable an understanding of why management accounting practices shape efficiency at CUC. The approach of structuration theory applied enables move beyond how efficiency is understood within New Public Management reforms, to consider the way how CUC manages to adapt the structural adjustments as demanded by multilateral development banks. The empirical insights show that in CUC efficiency is constructed more as a corporate value exercised through management accounting practices rather than being an exclusive indicator calculated through input/output relationships. The analysis unfolds how CUC creatively undertook the changes and adjustments to enable a public company to work with the profitability criteria prevailing in private enterprises. In this way, the thesis demonstrates how social structures related to utility companies as profitable businesses and public utilities as economic commodities are reproduced through management accounting practices in a public company within a Latin-American emerging economy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Claudia Barrios Alvarez
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2018 14:35
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2018 14:35

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