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Management accounting as constructing and opposing customer focus: three case studies on management accounting and customer relations
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is on the relation between management accounting and customer focus and relates to discussions about how internal managing processes in organizations are interrelated with interorganizational relations, specifically constructions of customers. Both a normative and a descriptive perspective on the relation are taken within the different parts of the thesis, which consists of a licentiate thesis, three articles and a synthesizing text. The purpose is to understand the interaction between management accounting and customer focus on operative levels in industrial organizations, where focus on customer has a central place. The results are also discussed with respect to its possible importance in the development of managing processes of organizations. The thesis is based on three cases, which have been studied with mainly a qualitative approach.

In the licentiate thesis, traditional accounting models, originally developed to provide information for analyzing products, are revisited under the assumption that customers and products are equally interesting to analyze. The three articles explore the role of management accounting in interpreting customers and the interface to customers. In the first article, strong customer accountability is found to override the intentions from managers, as communicated through the accounting system. Arguments of how management accounting can be perceived as inaccurate then have a central place in motivating how customers are prioritized in a way not favored by managers. Furthermore, in the second article, customers are experienced as both catalysts and frustrators to change processes and changes in management accounting are found in eo-development with the different customer relations and how different customers prefer to communicate. The third article explores how coordination mechanisms operate in relation to each other in coordination of customer-supplier relationships. A strong market mechanism creates space for bureaucratic control and use of management accounting. However, the use of bureaucratic control in turn relies on social coordination between actors in order to function.

These four parts are revisited and related to each other in a synthesizing part of the thesis. The relation between management accounting and customer focus is approached in two ways. Management accounting may construct customer focus, making it impossible to distinguish between the two. However, another interpretation of the relation is management accounting and customer focus as opposing logics, where management accounting represents hierarchical influence, homogeneous control processes and cost efficient operations, and customer focus represents customer influence, control processes adapted to the customer and customized operations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2005. , 106 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 933
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-33135Local ID: 19113ISBN: 91-85297-64-X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-33135DiVA: diva2:253958
Public defence
2005-05-09, Visionen, Hus B, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Note

Skriver sitt namn: Cäker istället för Säker

Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-12-03
List of papers
1. Customer focus: an accountability dilemma
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Customer focus: an accountability dilemma
2007 (English)In: The European Accounting Review, ISSN 0963-8180, E-ISSN 1468-4497, Vol. 16, no 1, 143-171 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Customer-related measures are today often included in management accounting systems. In this paper, two situations are displayed where these measures are problematic to the managing process. The main argument of the paper is that customer accountability may serve to question demands for hierarchical accountability, as put forward in management accounting systems. The paper is based on a case study, in which two groups show strong customer accountability which is disturbing to the managing process. In the first group, socializing accountability processes to the customers override hierarchical accountability concerning delivery performance. In the second group, aligned accountability to customers and managers for customer-related measures override hierarchical demands for accountability for financial performance. The argument of the paper may be taken as a basis to question the broadening of management accounting to incorporate customer-related aspects. An organization needs to be managed in a balanced way. However, it should not be taken for granted that all aspects need to be incorporated into management accounting. With strong customer accountability, management accounting may need to be devoted to classical tasks of emphasizing financial performance and formalized processes.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85892 (URN)10.1080/09638180701265911 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-07
2. Customer influence on management accounting change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Customer influence on management accounting change
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Managing processes in contemporary organizations have shov.rn to be interrelated with long-term business relations. The purpose of the paper is to understand interrelated changes of management accounting and perceptions of different customers. The article is based on a qualitative case-study based on 32 interviews, observations and documentary studies. In the case-study, higher management of the focused organization tries to influence the perception of the largest customer, an old, internal organization, by using new, external customers as 'role-models' and by increasing reliance on management accounting. The study shows that management accounting in the company finds different roles in communication with and about the different customers, in co-development with the employees' perception of their customers. Customers act as both catalysts and frustrators to intended management accounting change and when customers are perceived as heterogeneous, an organization may end up with heterogeneous use of management accounting.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85893 (URN)
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2012-12-03
3. Coordination in interorganizational relations: perspective of dominated suppliers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordination in interorganizational relations: perspective of dominated suppliers
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article relates to the debate on control in interorganizational relations. The article aims at providing an understanding of how bureaucratic mechanisms interrelate with market and social mechanisms in this setting, and the perspective of a dominated supplier is especially focused. The article is based on observation with complementary interviews of relations between an industrial customer and two of its suppliers.

The study shows restrictions put on the dominated suppliers from the customer, restrictions which from the suppliers' perspective motivate to question the efficiency of interorganizational, bureaucratic control. The suppliers' perceived need to adapt to the customers' routines is more motivated by a fear of challenging the customer than a concern for overall efficiency in the supply chain. The different mechanisms of governance operate in relation to each other. Mainly, market dominance creates space for hierarchical coordination. However, bureaucratic mechanisms do not suit every situation and social mechanisms enter - in some cases even to overrule bureaucratic mechanisms.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85894 (URN)
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2012-12-03
4. Vad kostar kunden?: modeller för intern redovisning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vad kostar kunden?: modeller för intern redovisning
2000 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Allt fler industriella företag erbjuder kundanpassade produkter. Produkterna utvecklas inom ramen för långvariga relationer med kunder. Detta har betydelse för hur de ekonomiska informationssystemen bör utformas. I uppsatsen föreslås modeller för den interna redovisningen som stödjer fokusering av både kunder och produkter. Därtill studeras hur kunder påverkar företagets kostnader. Litteraturen om redovisning och kalkylering, som har utvecklats för att i första hand fördela kostnader på produkter, analyseras utifrån att både produkter och kunder är väsentliga för uppföljningen. De föreslagna modellerna illustreras via en analys av kostnadsdata från Paroc AB. Dessutom diskuteras hur de föreslagna modellerna kan stödja kalkylering inför olika kundrelaterade handlingssituationer.

Både kund och produkt bör användas som kostnadsbärare i redovisningen för industriella företag som arbetar med en hög grad av kundanpassning. Detta ökar möjligheterna att analysera kostnaderna, jämfört med att enbart produkter fokuseras. Vidare kan kategorisering av kostnader efter hur resurser som förbrukas har anskaffats ge värdefull information, som inte är beroende av analysobjekt. I uppsatsen skiljs mellan prestationsberoende, kapacitetsberoende och nedlagda kostnader. Att använda kund och produkt som kostnadsbärare i redovisningssystem komplicerar dock att etablera nivåer av kostnadsställen i redovisningen som föreslagits i ABC-litteraturen. Det är bättre att använda den traditionella nivåindelningen av kostnadsbärare enligt stegkalkylsmetoden.

Kundrelaterade aktiviteter är ofta avsedda att skapa värden i senare tidsperioder. Framåtriktade aktiviteter kan redovisas som ’goda kostnader’, om de inte anses vara investeringar i formell bemärkelse. Detta medför att kostnaderna kan analyseras i senare tidsperioder utan att värdering av investeringar eller avskrivningar av tillgångar behöver göras. Investeringar i kunder skapar ofta immateriella tillgångar. För att värdera immateriella tillgångar är det väsentligt att studera möjligheterna till alternativ användning. I uppsatsen föreslås en kategorisering av tillgångar i specifika, begränsade och icke begränsade tillgångar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för datavetenskap, 2000. 123 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 844
Keyword
Företagsekonomi, Kostnader, Intäkter, Intern redovisning, produktkostnader
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5754 (URN)91-7219-810-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2000-09-28, 00:00 (English)
Supervisors
Note

Rapportkod: LiU-Tek-Lic-2000:40.

Available from: 2002-09-19 Created: 2002-09-19 Last updated: 2012-12-03

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