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

See all articles by Kate Horton

Kate Horton

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE); Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Claudio Wanderley

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE)

Date Written: June 26, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Horton, Kate and Wanderley, Claudio, Identity Conflict and the Paradox of Embedded Agency in the Management Accounting Profession: Adding a New Piece to the Theoretical Jigsaw (June 26, 2016). Management Accounting Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2800803

Kate Horton (Contact Author)

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) ( email )

Cidade Universitária
Cidade Universitária, Pernambuco 50670-901
Brazil

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Claudio Wanderley

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) ( email )

Cidade Universitária
Cidade Universitária, Pernambuco 50670-901
Brazil

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