Organizational Change and Accounting: The Gunpowder Monopoly in New Spain, 1757-87

Posted: 6 Mar 2012

Date Written: July 1, 2002


The Viceroyalty of New Spain was the main source of income for the Spanish Crown and the largest producer of silver in the world throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Carlos III, a member of the Bourbon dynasty, initiated a great tax reform in the viceroyalty during the last third of the eighteenth century, and transferred public activities and leased monopolies were brought under direct state control. This paper focuses on the study of the specific change in the system of administering the gunpowder monopoly in 1766. Institutional sociology provides the theoretical framework for analyzing the effects of institutionalized environments on the organizational structure and its expression through a process of bureaucratization as a mean of establishing organizational rationality. The role of accounting in the process of organizational change is analyzed from a multidimensional perspective: on the one hand, as an aspect of the organizational structure which enables the improvement of the economic performance of the monopoly and to generate organizational visibility; and, on the other hand, as an element under the control of the creator of environmental rationality.

Keywords: accounting, eighteenth century, gunpowder monopoly, New Spain, institutional sociology, management system

JEL Classification: M49, M19, N66, N86, L69

Suggested Citation

Núñez-Torrado, Miriam, Organizational Change and Accounting: The Gunpowder Monopoly in New Spain, 1757-87 (July 1, 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Miriam Núñez-Torrado (Contact Author)

University of Seville ( email )

Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Avda. Ramón y Cajal, s/n
Sevilla, Sevilla 41018
+34 54 55 6043 (Phone)
+34 54 55 7569 (Fax)

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