The practices of managing performance : accounting, accountability and cultural practices in a privatised pharmaceutical organisation

Zakaria, Zamzulaila
This study seeks to understand the practices of managing performance in a privatised\ud pharmaceutical organisation. In particular, it examines the interplay of accounting,\ud accountability and cultural practices in the everyday practices of managing performance\ud in the organisation. Based on an intensive field study of five months, an ethnographic\ud approach was selected and data collected through observations, interviews and reviews of\ud documents. Drawing on practice theory, this thesis provides an insight into how\ud accounting as part of the constituents of organisational control systems was implicated in\ud the practices of managing dual accountability, cultural change and the process of goal\ud alignment. Contrary to the notion that accounting is mainly associated with the exercise\ud of hierarchical accountability, the case illustrates practical and general understandings of\ud accounting were enacted through socialising accountability. Additionally, it describes the\ud way in which accounting and strategising were implicated in the practices of managing\ud dual accountability in the organisation. In light of the implementation of KPIs in the\ud organisation, the mesh of accounting and other organisational practices are explored, the\ud consequences of which are explained in two findings. Firstly, the study argues that the\ud coexistence of change and stability of accounting practices is the outcome of the interplay\ud between agency and subcultural practices. This study suggests that subculture resides in\ud practices, which influences the way in which accounting is used in the organisation.\ud Secondly, the thesis discusses the uses of performance measurement in managing the\ud interdependence of practices and to promote goal alignment. The implementation of the\ud management programme and the change of organisational structure are illustrative of the\ud process through which accounting and non-accounting control relate in the process of\ud goal alignment.

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