Accounting change: Explaining the outcomes, interpreting the process

Mariannunziata Liguori, Ileana Steccolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The issue of accounting change, why and how accounting evolves through time and within specific organisational settings, has been addressed by an important body of literature. This paper aims to explain why, in processes of accounting change, organisations confronting similar environmental pressures show different outcomes of change.

Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on archetype theory, the paper analyses the case of two Italian local governments. Comparative case studies were carried out, reconstructing a period of 15 years.

Findings: Although confronted with similar environmental pressures, the two cases show two different patterns of accounting change, where only one case is able to finally reach radical change. Accounting change can be prompted by external stimuli, but, once the change is prompted, the outcomes of the change are explained by the dynamics of intra-organisational conditions.

Originality/value: The study contributes to accounting change literature by adopting an approach (i.e. archetype theory) that overcomes some of the limitations of previous studies in explaining variations in organisational change. Through this, the authors are able to explain different outcomes and paces of accounting change and point out the intra-organisational factors also affecting them in the presence of similar environmental pressures. A specification of the theoretical framework in a particular setting is also provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-70
Number of pages44
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Accounting


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