Management Control Systems and Sustainability

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dc.contributor.advisor Akroyd, C en
dc.contributor.advisor Sawabe, N en
dc.contributor.author Jollands, Stephen en
dc.date.accessioned 2011-11-24T21:59:46Z en
dc.date.issued 2011 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/9554 en
dc.description.abstract Sustainability is humanity not over-consuming the resources available to them and thereby irreversibly depleting the levels of natural capital while at the same time ensuring an equitable and fair distribution, both within the current generation as well as across all future generations, of the resources available. Contemporary indicators suggest that we are currently far from achieving this state. Organisations that operate within our economies are responsible for the extraction of resources from the ecosphere at ever increasing levels as they pursue larger profits through growth. These organisations utilise their management control systems (MCS) to organise their operations and thereby moving humanity further away from achieving this state. Extant research at the intersection of sustainability and current MCS primarily focuses on this incompatibility. As a result to date there is sparse literature that specifically examines this intersection. Thus the aim of this research is to examine the potential for research at this intersection. In order to examine the potential for research at this intersection I conduct a longitudinal case study that investigates two processes through the use of actor-network theory as a theoretical lens. The first process seeks to examine MCS in the context of sustainability. Specifically I examine the process through which the case organisation develops a core value focusing on sustainability. I find that this process involves two parts. The first establishes a descriptive definition for the core value. The descriptive definition opens a space that enables the second part to occur. In the second part, actors within the case organisation experiment in order to try and understand what must be done to achieve this core value. Providing this understanding of how a core value develops contributes to the extant literature through highlighting how core values prompt search and discovery activities within an organisation. The second process seeks to examine whether a focus on MCS can extend our extant understandings of issues around sustainability. Thus, I examine the process, with a specific focus on the role of management controls, through which the case organisation attains and maintains legitimacy. I find that the role of the sustainability report within this process is to reaffirm the commitments of the relevant publics but it does so through avoiding any issue that is controversial in nature. Therefore the role of management controls differs in relation to whether they relate to issues that are more or less controversial. If they relate to a less controversial issue then their role, as is the case with the sustainability report, is to reaffirm the commitments of the relevant publics. If, however, they relate to a more controversial issue then their role is to identify emergent concerned groups and thereby expand or reduce organisation activity as appropriate. Further, I find that a number of different management controls are used to deploy a full range of potential legitimising strategies. These findings of the differing roles of management controls and the legitimising strategies that they are used to deploy contributes to the extant literature through providing a more nuanced understanding of the process organisations employ to attain or maintain legitimacy. By showing how core values prompt search and discovery activities within an organisation I find support for sustainability providing a good context within which to examine and further our understandings of MCS. By showing a more nuanced understanding of the process organisations employ to attain or maintain legitimacy I find support for a focus on MCS extending our extant understandings of issues around sustainability. Thus, while there is an incompatibility between current MCS and the state of sustainability, this thesis provides support for future research at this intersection. Specifically I advocate that this future research should utilise a broad range of approaches and investigate a wide range of issues. In this way I believe much needed knowledge may be developed as to how to enact the required change to move humanity towards a state of sustainability. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99218881814002091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title Management Control Systems and Sustainability en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Accounting en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 244459 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2011-11-25 en


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