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Publication - Professor Chris Chapman

    The structuration of legitimate performance measures and management

    Day-to-day contests of accountability in a U.K. restaurant chain

    Citation

    Ahrens, T & Chapman, C, 2002, ‘The structuration of legitimate performance measures and management: Day-to-day contests of accountability in a U.K. restaurant chain’. Management Accounting Research, vol 13., pp. 151-171

    Abstract

    This paper reports on a longitudinal field study of accounting systems and their relationship to accountability in a U.K. restaurant chain. It is based on interviews and observations involving restaurant managers, the operations management hierarchy, and head office managers. In contrast to earlier studies of accounting and accountability this paper presents evidence to suggest that local managers' uses of central performance reports may serve to disseminate head office's strategic vision to operating units. It also suggests that the contests of accountability around performance measurement systems that have previously been reported in connection with major organizational transformations are a feature of everyday organizational management. With reference to structuration theory three modalities of such contests of accountability (signification, legitimation, domination) are distinguished and some of their interrelationships explained. Within an overall frame of strict hierarchical relationships, restaurant chain management exhibited considerable diversity with respect to the uses of performance measures, reflecting diverse local and central factors.

    Full details in the University publications repository