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情境因素与组织绩效的关系(1)-伯明翰assignment代写

2016-12-26 | 来源:51due教员组 | 类别:更多范文

英国Assignment论文精选范文:“情境因素与组织绩效的关系(1)”,这篇论文主要讲述了情境因素与组织绩效的关系。文章通过相关的整合企业战略、组织结构、管理与业务单元的有效性系统文章,对情境因素与组织绩效进行了深入的分析和研究。

 

Introduction

 

This paper reviews an article by Jermias and Gani (2004) titled 'integrating business strategy, organizational configuration and management systems with business unit effectiveness: a fitness landscape approach', published in the 'Management Accounting Research' journal. Jermias and Gani (2004) sought to clarify the relationship between situational factors and organizational performance. The study adopted a 'fitness landscape approach to test contingency hypotheses about the relationship between business strategy, organizational configurations, management accounting systems, and business unit effectiveness' (p.179). The contingency theory approach to studies relating management accounting, strategy and performance has attracted attention from researchers over the years (Gerdin and Greve, 2004; 2008; Chenhall and Lagnfield-Smith, 1998). The attraction stems from the need to fill the gap between practice and the academia (Roslender, 1995).

 

The central theme of the contingency theory is that there is no ideal or optimum form of management accounting system (Reid and Smith, 2000). Thus the concept of 'fit' between the structure of an organization and contingencies (technology, environmental uncertainty, globalization, demanding customers, organization size, diversity and formal structure) that impact on the design of these structures (Caniato et al., 2008).

 

The research by Jermias and Gani (2004) is intended 'to contribute to the limited body of knowledge in this area by attempting to develop and measure the contingent fit between strategic priorities and its contextual variables using fitness landscape approach and investigate the association between the level of contingent fit and effectiveness at business unit levels' (p.180).

 

This review process is a critical appraisal of how the researchers have been able to meet their objectives. The review is structured as follows; background of the study, contributions to the existing literature, evaluation of the methodologies adopted and the philosophical assumptions informing the methodology, the appropriateness of the sample selection, the ethical considerations inherent in their chosen methodology, the thoroughness and robustness of their research design, the evidence warranting their conclusions and whether or not an alternative approach may have been more appropriate.

 

Background of the study

 

The contingency theory approach to studies relating Management Accounting, Strategy and Performance has been prominent in management accounting research (Gerdin and Greve, 2004; 2008; Takeuchi, 2009; Reid and Smith, 2000; Naranjo-Gil and Hartmann, 2007; Chenhall and Lagnfield-Smith, 1998). The attraction stems from the need to fill the gap between practice and the academia (Roslender, 1995), and to enhance the role of the management accountants in organizations through the contribution of valuable and relevant information (Abernethy and Guthrie, 1994; Tomlin, 2006). The contingency theory approach has emerged as one way of addressing this perceived gap between practice and academic research by testing for factors that affect organizational structures and designs. And to give insight into the impact of these factors on practice (Chenhall, 2008; Chenhall and Langfield-Smith, 1998).

 

Although not a particularly new phenomenon in the field of management accounting (Anthony, 1965), the approach has been found valuable in the analysis of situational factors which may impact on organizations. The contingency theory is rooted on the premise that many factors (contingencies) influence the way the organizations are structured and adapted. Jermias and Gani (2004) research is among the several studies which are designed to create an understanding of the contingencies that impact on organizational performance.

 

Like most other studies which have embraced the concept of contingency theory in management accounting research (Roslender, 1995; Govindarajan, 1988; Gerdin, 2005; Gerdin and Greve, 2008; Chenhall, 2003, Mitchell, 2002), the need for practically oriented research approach has been acknowledged and embedded in the motivation for the research by Jermias and Gani, (2004). This has been outlined as follows: 'from a practical perspective the findings of this study can help to increase understanding of how different strategic priorities may require different organizational configurations to positively affect performance' (p.181).

 

It was also intended to contribute to theory by providing 'insights into the development of the contingent fit construct to represent an appropriate matching between strategic priorities and its contextual variables and how to measure this construct' (p.181). But how well these objectives have been met will be critically appraised in the proceeding section by evaluating whether the researchers have been able to make these contribution(s) to the 'limited body of knowledge in this area' (p.180), and how much such contributions could be relied upon for practice and theory building as intended.

 

Contribution to existing knowledge

 

One of the contributions anticipated by the researchers is to create an understanding of how various contingencies could be blended into a 'fit' or brought to a state where they would enhance the effectiveness of a business unit. Building on the framework proposed by Porter (1980), the researchers identified two strategic priorities that are suggested to enhance competitive advantage. Thus an organization will either adopt a 'low cost approach' or 'product differentiation strategy'.

 

Using the fitness landscape approach which creates a link between adaptive factors, the researchers showed the combination of strategy, organizational design and management accounting system that could lead to business unit effectiveness. They developed a model which contributes to filling the gap in the literature of contingency theory research in management accounting. Their contribution to the contingency theory research in management accounting gives insight into the measurement of the 'construct of contingency fit' and broadens the contingency theory perspective to management accounting research.

 

Through a number of testable hypotheses, the study suggests that 'strategic choice, organizational design and management accounting systems enhance organizational performance' (p.187). They also suggested the elements that should be embedded into the various strategies and the possible combination of the various elements that would lead to improved performance.

 

However, the study analyzed the various factors individually following a 'bivariate interactive approach' (Govindarajan, 1988). The 'bivariate interactive approach' is based on the assumption that each situational factor contributes independently to the overall fitness value. This does not clearly show how these factors fit together as a unit to drive business unit effectiveness, which is implied in the research. An alternative quantitative approach to fit that may have captured the effects of these variables as a unit would have been the systems approach to 'fit.' The systems approach to fit is based on the premise that organizational performance is a function of the interaction between the various variables and not the independent contributions of the variables to the overall fitness value (Govindarajan, 1988).

 

Ittner and Larcker (2001) have also argued that measuring strategy 'using a simple continuum between firms following a cost leadership strategy and those following an innovation or growth oriented strategy' (is a limitation to contingency theory research). Given the multidimensional nature of corporate strategy, a single measure (as used in the study) is unlikely to capture many relevant strategic distinctions' (p. 17).

 

The researchers have also given the impression that organizations are restrained to making a choice between the two strategies studied. Thus it has been stated that '… a company must choose a particular strategic (either low cost or product differentiation) to achieve sustainable competitive advantages' (p.186). Ittner and Larcker, (2001) suggest the existence of other strategic choices like targeting a particular market segment, providing better customer services, rendering higher quality products and services and copying competitors' inventions . Porter (1980) also described a strategic alternative to 'low cost' and 'product differentiation' which combines both qualities but focuses on a particular market segment.

 

Methodology and Philosophical Underpinning

 

Researchers' conceptualization of reality (their ontological position) influences what is accepted as knowledge (epistemology) and drives the choice of methodology (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Methodological suppositions inform the research methods considered suitable for the gathering of convincing evidence (Chua, 1986). Johnson and Clark, (2006) contend that the paramount concern should not be the philosophical foundation of a research, but how well such philosophical perceptions are portrayed and defended with respect to alternative choices. Saunders et al., (2009) argue that the different philosophical positions allow for evaluation of the subject matter of a research from different perspectives which could be advantageous.

 

Research in accounting like most other disciplines are distinguished with respect to the fundamental supposition of knowledge, the phenomenon being studied, and the underlying relationship between practice and theory building. (Chua, 1986, p.601) stated as follows:

 

Mainstream accounting is grounded in a common set of philosophical assumptions about knowledge, the empirical world, and the relationship between theory and practice. This particular world-view, with its emphasis on hypothetico-deductivism and technical control, possesses certain strengths…'.

 

This informs the research approach as either deductive (in line with the functionalist point of view) or inductive (in line with social constructionist perspective). The positivist approach epistemological view is informed by observation of phenomena. Thus only things which can be observed are reckoned with to provide reliable evidence. It focuses on developing causal inferences and generalization of outcome(s). The inductive approach tends towards what informs actions, details about circumstances and subjective factors informing a particular action.

 

The survey research design has been employed for the purpose of the study reviewed. Surveys are linked with the deductive approach built on the realist ontological assumption. Contingency theory studies have generally been considered on positivistic studies (Chenhall, 2003; Krumwiede, 1998; Abdel-Kader and Luther, 2008). They employ surveys research design to produce answers to the what, who, where and quantification questions of how many or how much Saunders et al., (2009). Surveys enhance data collection in large quantity in an economical way which could then be analyzed using inferential statistics. On the basis of the analysis, a framework could be established or causal relationship inferred which could be generalized to the entire population. Survey designs afford the researcher control over the research process.

 

The survey design as adopted by the researchers is appropriate for the study as it enabled the collection of large data which was analyzed by the researchers to test the hypotheses they formulated. It enabled them to draw inferences on the contingencies that impact on effectiveness of a business unit. The adoption of the survey design to conducting the research suggests that the researchers have a positivist perception of reality and rely on concrete evidence to reach their conclusions.

 

Sample selection

 

Jermias and Gani (2004) select their sample of companies listed on the 'Jakarta Stock Exchange under the consumer goods industry' (p.188). The researchers have stated that the choice of companies in a single industry has been informed by the desire to 'minimize the effects of environmental heterogeneity (p.188). Efforts were also made to involve a diversified approach to strategy, and multiple products which aimed at ensuring that different organizational design, management accounting, and control mechanisms were in force in the different companies selected in the sample.

 

Chenhall (2003) suggested that industry specific factors are likely to impact on the design of management accounting systems (MAS). Caniato et al., (2008) contend that different industries are exposed to different challenges and contingencies which inform their structures and MAS. Based on the evidence from previous studies as stated above, the selection of an industry for study is appropriate given the need for sampling.

 

However, it may be argued that although selection of a single industry for study 'minimizes environmental heterogeneity' (p.188), it implies that the researchers have assumed that every firm in the industry is exposed to the same situational factors. It may be argued that the industry (consumer goods) ranges may be broad and result in differences which would not allow for direct correspondence to the business of individual company.

 

Also, where the same factors impact on all the firms in the industry, the rate at which these factors may impact on individual firm may differ from the other. The strategy adopted by a firm, and its objectives may also affect the manner at which the impact of certain factors are felt within the industry. Ittner and Larcker, (2001) have argued that generalization in management accounting studies are difficult as a result of research methods, diversity in samples and theories employed.

 

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