Identity Conflict and the Paradox of Embedded Agency in the Management Accounting Profession: Adding a New Piece to the Theoretical Jigsaw
Posted: 28 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 26, 2016
This paper aims to extend the literature on institutional change by exploring the role of identity conflict as a critical driver of embedded agency amongst management accounting (MA) professionals. Specifically, we draw on Social Identity Theory to develop a conceptual framework that links identity and identity conflict to change related behavior. In this framework, we explain how multiple identities constrain but also stimulate agentic behavior in organizations. In particular, we highlight the underlying mechanisms through which conflicts in multiple identities lead to institutional change through processes of identity work and job crafting. Moreover, we specify how job discretion and business involvement affect the embedded agency of management accountants operating in different professional roles. We further predict that changes in MA practices are likely to have an effect on management accountants’ identities and may create new identity conflicts if they diverge from existing institutionalized identities. We highlight the implications of this model for our understanding of embedded agency and for future research directions in the field.
Keywords: identity, embedded agency, management accounting, change
JEL Classification: M4
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