The Persistence of Delegitimated Structures: Insights from Changes to Management Accounting at the Hudson's Bay Company, 1670 to 2005
33 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2007
Date Written: July 30, 2007
According to two recent studies, delegitimated institutions (accountants as auditors - Greenwood et al., the Cravath promotion model for lawyers - Sherer and Lee) were displaced by new theorized structures, with the expectation that these replacement structures would subsequently become institutionalized. We argue that rather than fading away, delegitimated institutions may follow one of two alternative paths: structuration (Giddens, 1984), or sedimentation (Cooper et al., 1996). Using a historical case study approach to study management accounting with archival evidence for the period 1670 to 2005, we find both structuration and sedimentation processes occurred. However, delegitimation did not mean all of the management accounting techniques were eliminated. This reflected continued reproduction of existing practices. At other times, new techniques were added to allegedly increase effectiveness. Both structuration and sedimentation appear to provide complementary explanations for the delegitimation of management accounting.
Keywords: management accounting, institutionalization, Hudson's Bay Company
JEL Classification: M40, M49, M46
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation