Power, Rewards, and Management Accounting Practice: Evidence from an Omani Packaging Organisation
Al Asimi, Sabrina Maghrab Rashid
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The purpose of this study is to examine how broad changes in the global business environment, in general, and developments in the Omani business environment, more specifically, are impacting upon the management accounting practices (MAPs) that are used by non-oil-related Omani manufacturing companies (NOROMC). The importance of NOROMC in Oman has increased over the last three decades, as the country's leaders strategically shift away from over-dependence on revenues generated by oil-related manufacturing companies. The research in this thesis is qualitative, and it is informed by complementary socio-political theoretical frameworks - including Burns and Scapens (2000) conceptualisation of management accounting (MA, hereafter) change using institutional theory, and Hardy’s (1996) notion of power and political mobilisation. The empirical work comprises an in-depth case study, but is also preceded by a survey and follow-up interviews that have more generally explored the management accounting practices adopted by NOROMCs. First, the survey results, reinforced also by the follow-up interviews, have indicated that a majority of NOROMCs adopt traditional MAPs, rather than more contemporary MAPs. The most frequently cited reasons for the non-adoption of contemporary MAPs included: lack of affordability, incomplete knowledge, and a perception of relative efficiency in traditional MAPs. However, in terms of those companies which did adopt newer MAPs, the most common response in relation to what drives the adoption of newer MAPs, included: compliance with parent company requirements and regulations, and, more generally, the changing business environment. Having attained these results from the survey and follow-up interviews, it was felt that there was insufficient detail and understanding of the processes of new MAPs’ (non-) adoption. A case study was therefore also undertaken, to provide useful and in-depth understanding. This case study provides new insight into the process of the (non-) adoption of contemporary MAPs in NOROMCs which, in turn, supplements, but also extends, previous research, which is mostly based on questionnaire-style methods. The case study also reveals complexity in employee resistance, and highlights some of the cultural nuances that are related to the Omani setting. This thesis was undertaken in the context of recent calls for further research into MA as a changing process in emerging economies (Hopper et al., 2009). As far as the author is aware, this investigation is the first of its kind to be conducted in Oman, hence it should instantly contribute to the development of knowledge in this important area.
Sultan Qaboos University (Sultanate of Oman)
PhD in Accountancy