Interactions of Rules and Routines: Re-thinking rules

Joao Oliveira, Martin Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose:
This paper addresses the extant and arguably excessive focus on routines in management accounting research, and a relative neglect of rules. It seeks to advance our understanding of how rules and routines may interact, in the technology-enabled context of management accounting and control of contemporary organisations.

Design/methodology/approach:
We draw on, and develop, insights from extant literature and from two case studies to explore how rules and routines may interact.

Findings:
We propose a framework on the interactions of rules and routines across multiple dimensions. We adopt a wide notion of rules to include formal rules, rules as internal cognitive structures of human actors, and rules technologically embedded in non-human actors. We argue that rules underlie and may precede routines, distinguish between repeated practices and routines and explore the role of technology in today’s management accounting practices.

Research limitations/implications:
This research shows how the process of routinization and, ultimately, institutionalization of practices involves multiple dimensions of rules, as well as both human and non-human actors. With this understanding, researchers and practitioners will be better equipped to, respectively, understand nuances of management accounting change and actually achieve change in practice.

Originality value:
This paper highlights the importance of rules in the routinization and institutionalization of management accounting practices and proposes a framework which explores the interactions of rules and routines across three realms: material, action and psychological. Including a material realm, related with technologically embedded rules, in the proposed framework contributes to institutional theory by acknowledging today’s increasing role of technology in organizational life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-526
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Accounting and Organization Change
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Interactions of Rules and Routines: Re-thinking rules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this