Organizational Culture and the Use of Management Accounting Innovations in Thailand

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1 Organizational Culture and the Use of Management Accounting Innovations in Thailand Wipa Chongruksut Institute of International Studies, Ramkhamhaeng University Ramkhamhaeng Road, Bangkok 10240, Thailand Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between organizational culture and the use of management accounting innovations. The management accounting innovations in this study include activity-based costing (ABC), activitybased management (ABM), balanced scorecard (BSC) and target costing (TC). The study found that there was no overall statistical difference in organizational culture between firms which make use of and do not make use of innovations. However, the firms with greater intensity of culture reflecting, flexibility value or the support orientation or innovation orientation had the higher potential for using management accounting innovations. Introduction Organizational culture is beliefs and expectations that bring about norms that powerfully shape the behavior of individuals and groups in the organization (Schwartz and Davis 1981; Schein 19901; O Reilly III et al. 1991). The pervasiveness and importance of values in organizational culture are basically limited to the psychological process of identity formation in which individuals present to search a social identity that provides meaning and connection (O Reilly III et al. 1991). Recently, the application of the concept of culture to organizations has received increasing, and explicit attention (Schien 1990; O Reilly III et al. 1991). Since the organizational culture affects capability of an organization to attain objectives and plans and the success of firm is contingent on the combination of the organizational culture with the management system, organization structure and people (Schwartz and Davis 1981). Consequently, the use of management requires reference to organizational Keywords: organizational culture, management accounting innovations, Activitybased costing, Activity-based management, Balanced Scorecard, Target Costing. 113

2 culture (Smith 1998). However, very little is known about which management accounting practices are relevant to what organizational culture. This paper extends previous management accounting literature by examing the influence of organizational culture on the use of management accounting innovations. The paper is set out as follow: In the next section a brief background is provided the relevant literature; this is followed by the research methodology. Next, a detailed discussion of the results and finally, conclusions are provided. Background Organizational culture As noted by Schwartz and Davis (1981), organizations cannot function without some degree of regularized, formal information flow, policies, procedures, meetings through which the essential takes of the business are carried out. Organizations are also built upon the skills, experience, and needs of the people who compose them. Thus, organization culture is associated with the shared behavior of employees with regard to the job and organization (Rampersad 2003). An organization s culture can be explained by its management in term of the way their tasks are managed (Schwartz and Davis 1981), such as the management style (Schwartz and Davis 1981), and organizational structures (Smith 1998). Van Muijen et al. (1991) developed an organizational culture model, based on the Competing Value Model by Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) and the model by Deshpande et al. (1993). The model of organizational culture by Van Mijen et al. (1999, p.556) comprises two dimensions: the flexibility versus control; and the internal versus external points of view. Combining these two dimensions, four organizational culture orientations emerged: the support, the innovation, the rules and the goal orientation. (See Figure 1) 114

3 Flexibility Innovative Support Innovation Internal External Rule Goal Control Figure 1 The Competing Value Model of Organizational Culture Note. Adapted from Organizational Culture: The focus questionnaire, by Jaap Van Muijen et al., 1999, European Journal of work and Organizational Psychology, 8(4), p.556. (The innovative firms are more likely to be in Flexibility and External quadrant.) The support orientation involves cooperation, participation, teamwork, freedom in work, morale, loyalty and sense of family. The innovation orientation is characterized by creativity, openness to changes and adaptability. The rules orientation emphasizes rules authority, bureaucratic practices and stability. The communication is often written and top-down. The goal orientation is concerned with rationality, goal achievement, performance measurement and commensurate reward. The support orientation and the rules orientation have an internal focus, which drives the organization itself, while the innovation orientation and the goal orientation have an external focus, which affects the relationship of the organization with its environment. At the same time, the support orientation and the innovation orientation share an emphasis on flexibility while the rules orientation and the goal orientation share an emphasis on control. Consequently, the organizational culture model in this study is based on the organizational culture model of Van Muijen et al. (1999, pp ) by dividing the organizational culture into four orientations: the support; the innovation; the rules; and the goal orientation, and focusing on the flexible and the control values. Henri (2004, pp.1-27) suggests that the control/flexibility dilemma is associated with the essence of management control systems and is the cornerstone of ongoing debates in management accounting. Furthermore, the developmental and group dimensions focus on flexibility and the rational and hierarchical dimensions are based on the value of control. Consequently, Henri (2004, pp.1-27), who studied 115

4 the relationships between organizational culture and performance systems based on Quinn and Rohrbaugh s (1983, pp ) model, concludes that the organizational culture values incorporate two general paradigms: control values; and flexibility values. They are considered to be characteristics of each organization. Control values describe predictability, stability, formality, conformity and rigidity. Specially, they reflect bureaucracy, and authority of top management. They are associated with vertical interaction and order. Therefore, the cultural patterns relating to control values encourage tight control of operations, highly structured channels of communication and restricted flows of information. In contrast, flexibility values describe challenge, dynamic, spontaneity, responsiveness, adaptability, openness and informality. Particularly, they reflect creativity and innovation. In addition, they are related to empowerment, self-control and teamwork. Hence, cultural patterns concerning flexibility values present loose and informal controls, open and lateral channels of communication, and free flow information. Management Accounting Innovations The primary purpose of management accounting is to provide managers with information designed to support and enrich decision making. In advanced manufacturing environment with and intense global competition, new management accounting techniques are needed by managers (Green and Amenkhienan 1992, pp.58-64). Kaplan (1994, pp ; 1998, pp ) maintained that activitybased costing (including activity-based management), balanced scorecard, as well as operational control systems, are important management accounting innovations over the last decade. ABC (including ABM) and target costing are interlinked processes as ABC can help product design engineers to attain a product s target cost (Lockamy III and Smith, 2000, pp ; Hillton, 2005, pp ). Likewise, The BSC provides insights from ABC by balancing financial and non-financial performance measurement based on the activity system (Hansen & Mowen 2006, pp ). Accordingly, the ABC (including ABM), BSC and target costing seem to have having interlinked process. It is interesting to study management accounting innovations including ABC, BSC and target costing. Smith (1998, pp 60-62) stated that the combination of managerial practices and organizational culture is essential for introducing an new system and the diffusion of management accounting innovations requires reference to organizational culture. Thus, it was expected in the current study that organizational culture would be associated with the use of management accounting innovations. This, leads to the following propositions: Propositon 1: There will be significant difference in organizational culture between firms that introduce and that do not-introduce innovations. 116

5 Proposition 2: The attributes of organizational culture can predict the use of management accounting innovations. Research Methodology The target population consisted of all firms, both in the manufacturing and service industries, listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). The main reasons to choose firms listed on the SET are that they are large-sized firms that should have greater resources available for investment in new systems, such as ABC or BSC, and a great deal of data about them is available from the SET. Data were collected through a structured questionnaire sent to the accounting/finance managers of those firms (480 firms). As those managers were considered most likely to understand the management accounting system and it was assumed that they were key persons responsible for implementing the management accounting system. A mail out package including the following three elements was sent to all the firms: cover letter; questionnaire; and a reply and postage-paid envelope to improve the rate of response to mail questionnaires. The questionnaire in this study was first developed in English version. It was then translated into Thai version by a bilingual person who grew up in Thailand, obtained his doctorate in management accounting in the U.K., and has been teaching in Thailand for several years. The translation and the original were carefully compared and examined to assure that no significant differences between the English and Thai versions were found. To confirm the clarity and validity of this questionnaire, it was first pre-tested by one expert academic in management accounting and one management accountant who has had experience in manufacturing industry for many years. 20 questionnaires were pre-tested by samples which have similar attribution to the population. Reliability in the questionnaire was estimated by using Cronbach s alpha. Coefficient alpha indicated the degree of internal consistency among items in the questionnaire (the value = ). Results A total of 480 questionnaires were mailed to the accounting/finance managers of firms listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). 108 responses were received for a response rate of 22.5%. The Use of Management Accounting Innovations in Thailand Bjornenak (1997, pp.3-17) divided the individual respondents into 2 groups, based on the knowledge of an innovation. The grouping approach in this study was adapted from Bjornenak (1997, pp.3-17). As shown in Figure 2, respondents were 117

6 classified into 2 groups: respondents with innovation knowledge; and those without such knowledge. The knowledge group is divided into 2 sub-groups: respondents who utilize and those who do not utilize accounting innovations. Figure 2 The use of innovations in Thailand Figure 2 shows that more than 50% of all respondents are familiar with the management accounting innovations such as ABC, ABM, BSC and TC. Especially, the majority of all respondents had known Activity-based costing (ABC) (83.3%). Comparison of Firms with Use and Non-use of Management Accounting Innovations This section investigates the differences between firms who use and those who do not use management accounting innovations. Management accounting innovations in this section include Activity-based costing (ABC), Activity-based management (ABM), Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and Target costing (TC). A firm which uses at least one of these management accounting innovations is considered to be innovative. Industry Groups The results of this study shows that industry groups and the use of management accounting innovations have significant relationship (Significance value of Chi Square = 0.025, at the 0.05 level of significance). Most firms with the use of management accounting innovations are in the manufacturing industry (31.7%). 118

7 Organizational Structure This study indicated that no statistically significant difference in dimension of organizational structures between firms which uses and those who do not use management innovations, was found (Sig. value=0.763). The result of this study contrasts with Gosselin s (1997, pp ) findings. Nevertheless, most firms that use management accounting innovations organized their structures by departments (74.4%). Firms Size The size of firm in this study was measured by number of employees. There is a statistically significant difference in firm size (Number of employees) between firm that use and those which do not use management innovations. The significant value of number of employees (0.044) is under the confidence level of Most firms using the management accounting innovations have between 501-1,000 employees (22.0%) as the majority of firms that have between 501-1,000 employees are in the manufacturing industry. Firm Environment Table 1 shows that there are no statistically significant differences in product complexity, product diversity, flexibility of manufacturing facility, capital equipment intensity, competitive intensity, number of customers, variability in demand and high volumes between firms that use and those that do not use innovations. The results relating to product complexity and flexibility of manufacturing are similar to findings by Nguyen and Brooks (1997, pp.1-18) and the results concerning the product diversity and the competitive intensity are not different from findings by Chen et al. (2001, pp.23-37) Table 1 Mann-Whitney U Test for Firm Environment and the Use of Management Accounting Innovations Firm Environment Mann-Whitney Wilcoxon W Z Asymp.Sig. U (2-tailed) Complexity of product/service Diversity in product/service Flexibility of manufacturing Capital equipment intensity Intensity of competition Serving a large number of customer Variability in demand Fairly high volumes Note. at the 0.05 level of significance 119

8 The Organizational Culture in Thailand Table 2 shows the characteristics of organizations. Most respondent firms orient performance and demand total commitment and loyalty (mean scores = 3.96 and 3.82 respectively). In addition, they encourage individual initiative, maintain good morale, commit to innovations and change and get along well (mean scores = 3.77, 3.76, 3.69 and 3.65 respectively). Table 2 Organization Characteristics Organizational Dimension Mean S.D Support Orientation - like a one big family - like a their/mother - power is distributed - commitment and loyalty - get along well - maintaining good morale Innovation - innovation and change - encourage individual initiative Rule - many rules and regulation - quick to punish - do not like change - run smoothly Goal - compete with each other - performance oriented - work oriented Note. From Question 26 (Organization characteristics Type of Organizational Culture Table 3 shows the type of organizational culture. As cited earlier, Van Muijen et al. (1999, pp ) indicate that organizational culture values incorporate four culture types: the support; the innovation; the rules; and the goal orientations. The support orientation describes cooperation, participation, teamwork, morale and loyalty, as well as sense of family. The innovation orientation refers to creativity, openness to change and adaptability while the rules orientation emphasizes stability, regulations and hierarchical structure. Finally, the goal orientation involves performance measurement and reward, as well as goal achievement. Moreover, the support and the innovation orientations reflect the flexibility value while the rules and goal orientation reflect the control value. Table 3 shows that most firms in the SET have organizational culture reflecting the support and the innovation orientations (Mean score= and 7.47, respectively) or the flexibility dominant culture (Mean score =29.17). 120

9 Table 3 Type of 0rganizational Culture Total Score Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation of scale Support Innovation Rules Goal Flexible Control Differences in Organizational Culture among Firms This section provides the results as to differences in organizational culture among industry groups, firm size, organization structure and foreign shareholding. Industry Groups There is no statistically significant difference in organizational culture among industry groups (Sig. value of Kruskal-Wallis test = at the 0.05 level of significance). Likewise, no significant difference in dimensions of culture and in dominant types of culture were found between industry groups. Firm Size Statistically significant differences in organizational culture among firms with different sizes were found at the 0.05 level of significance (Sig. value = 0.036). Especially, there is statistically significant difference in the flexibility dominant culture among firms with different sizes (Sig. value = 0.015). In addition, in term of the dimensions of culture, there is significant difference in the support orientation among firms with different sizes (Sig. value = 0.037). Organizational Structure There is no statistically significant difference in organizational culture among firms with different organizational structure. Similarly, statistically significant differences in dimensions of culture among firms with different organizational structure were not found. Foreign Shareholder There is no statistically significant difference in organizational culture between wholly Thai-owed firms and partly foreign-owned firms (Sig. value = 0.659). In addition, There were no significant differences in dimensions of culture between the two groups. 121

10 Proposition-Test Proposition 1: There will be significant difference in organizational culture between firms which introduce and do not-introduce innovations. Table 4 shows that no statistically significant difference in organizational culture between firms that use and those who do not use innovations was found. (significance value= at the 0.05 level). Table 4 Mann-Whitney U Test for Organizational Culture and the Use of Management Accounting Innovations Organizational culture Mann-Whitney Wilcoxon W Z Asymp.Sig. U (2-tailed)* Culture:** Flexibility type - Control type Note. * - at the 0.05 level of significance ** - The organizational culture consists of two dominant types: flexibility and control types. - Data drawn from Question 29 (The Use of management accounting innovations) However, Table 5 shows that the firms with greater intensity of culture reflecting the flexibility dominant type had the higher potential of using innovations. On the contrary, the firms with greater intensity of culture reflecting the control dominant type had the higher possibility of not using innovations. This is obviously a significant finding as more control based cultures tend not to be conducive to management innovations. 122

11 Table 5 Descriptive Statistics for Organizational Culture and the Use of Management Accounting Innovations Culture Flexibility Control Organizational culture N Mean Rank Sum of Ranks - non-use - use Total - non-use - use Total - non-use - use Total Note. ** - The organizational culture consists of two dominant types: flexibility and control types. - Data drawn from Question 29 (The Use of management accounting innovations) According to the organizational culture model of Van Muijen et al. (1999, pp ), the organizational culture is divided into four dimensions: the support; the innovation; the rules; and the goal dimensions. The support and innovation dimensions reflect the flexibility dominant types while the rules and goal dimensions reflect the control dominant type. This study also found that there are no statistically significant differences in the support, the innovation, the rules and the goal orientations between firms that use and do not use innovations (significance values=0.209, 0.527, and 0.861, respectively). Nevertheless, the firms with greater intensity of culture reflecting the support and the innovation orientation had a higher potential of using innovations. In contrast the firms with higher emphasis of culture reflecting the rules and the goal orientations had the higher possibility of not using innovations. Proposition 2: The attributes of organizational culture can predict the use of management innovations. Seeing that there is no statistically significant relationship between organizational culture and the use of management accounting innovations (Proposition 1), Proposition 2 cannot be tested. Summary and Discussion The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between organizational culture and the use of management accounting innovations (including ABC, ABM, BSC and TC). Seeing that culture is a factor influencing practically all aspects of organizational interactions. There are few management accounting studies that examine 123

12 organizational culture (Henri 2004). The results of this study makes a contribution to existing knowledge in the area of management accounting, especially ABC, ABM, BSC or TC. The results suggest that the firms with greater intensity of culture reflecting the support and the innovation dimensions (the flexibility dominant type) had the higher potential of using management accounting innovations. That is, these firms emphasize teamwork, participation, openness to change and adaptability. The generalizability of the findings of this study may be limited by the sample size which included only public firms listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) or by four management accounting techniques (ABC, ABM, BSC or TC). Thus, it would be interesting for future research to capture other management accounting techniques. References Bjornenak, T. (1997). Diffusion and accounting: The case of ABC in Norway. Management Accounting Research, 8, Chen, G., Firth, M., & Park, K. (2001). The implementation of benefits of activity-based costing: Hong Kong Study. Asia Review of Accounting, 9( 2), Deshpande, R., Farley, J. U., & Webster, F. E. (1993). Corporate culture customer orientation and innovativeness in Japanese firms: A quadrad analysis. Journal of Marketing, 57, Gosselin, M. (1997). The effect of strategy and organizational structure on the adoption and implementation of activity-based costing. Accounting, Organizations, and Society, 22(2), Green, F. B., & Amenkhienan, F. E. (1992). Accounting innovation a crosssection survey of manufacturing firms. Journal of Cost Management for the Manufacturing Industry (US), 6, Hansen, D. R., & Mowen, M. M. (2006). Management accounting: The cornerstone for business decision. South Western, Mason: Thomson. Henri, J. F. (2004). Organizational culture and performance measurement system. Accounting Organizations and Society, 10,

13 Hillton, R.W. (2005). Management accounting : Creating value in a dynamic business environment (6 th ed.). NewYork: Mc Graw Hill Jrwin Companies, Inc. Kaplan, R. S. (1994). Management accounting ( ): Development of new practice and theory. Management Accounting Research, 5, Kaplan, R.S. (1998). Innovation action research: Creating new management theory and practice. Journal of Management Accounting, 20, Lockamy III, A., & Smith, W1. (2000). Target costing for supply chain management: criteria and selection. Industrial Management & Data Systems, Nguyen, H.V., & Brooks, A. (1997). An Empirical investigation of adoption issue relating to activity-based costing, Asian Review of Accounting, 5(1), O Reilly, C. A., Chatman, J., & Caldwell D. F. (1991). People and organizational culture: A profile comparison approach to assessing person-organization fit. Academy of Management Journal, 14(1), Quinn, R. E., & Rohrbaugh, J. (1983, March). A spatial model of effectiveness criteria: Towards a competing values approach to organizational analysis. Management Science, 29( 3), Rambersad, H. K. (2003). Total performance scorecard: Redefining management to achieve performance with integrity. Amsterdam: Buttle worth- Heihemann. Schein E. H. (1990). Organizational culture. American Psychological Association, 45(2), Schwartz, H., & Davis, S. M. (1981). Matching corporate culture and business strategy. Organizational Dynamics. Summer, 10(1), Smith, M. (1998). Culture and organizational change. Management Accounting, 76(7), Jul/Aug. ABI/ Inform Global, Van Muijen, J., Koopman, P., De Witte, K., De Cock G., Susani, Z., Lemoine, C., et al. (1999). Organizational culture: The focus questionnaire. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(4),

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