• Inquiry into the cultural impact on cost accounting systems (CAS) in Sri Lanka

      Nagirikandalage, Padmi; Binsardi, Ben; University of Chester; Glyndwr University (Emerald, 2017-11-04)
      The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the implementation of cost accounting systems (CAS) using content analysis. In particular, it aims to examine the impact of Sri Lankan cultural and local characteristics on the adoption of CAS. In particular, it examines the factors that facilitate or hinder the adoption of CAS in Sri Lanka. Primary data for the research were obtained by interviewing selected respondents from Sri Lanka’s manufacturing and service sectors. They were shortlisted using maximum variation sampling to obtain a representative cross-section of the national population. A total of 16 respondents were interviewed, which resulted in 57 interview paragraphs to be coded. Several theories were used to analyse them, namely, the theory of institutional isomorphism (homogeneity) and the theory of heterogeneity, as well as Clifford Geertz’s cultural theories. A cross-comparison between the findings and relevant literature indicates the existence of complete institutional isomorphism and partial institutional heterogeneity in Sri Lanka. Heterogeneity exists in organisations such as foreign multinationals, which have adopted unique and sophisticated CAS. In addition, inadequate access to information and the orientation of the local culture has affected the implementation of CAS in Sri Lanka, with a lack of awareness of the importance of CAS, a sluggish approach to costing and cultural values forming prominent barriers to its implementation. These findings are plausible in light of the relationship between a sluggish approach towards costing (a low cost awareness), and local attitudes towards the implementation of more efficient accounting practices such as CAS. This research is invaluable as a tool for Sri Lankan policymakers and practitioners, enabling the public and private sectors to provide education and training to enhance staff understanding and promote a positive attitude towards costing. With more efficient institutional CAS, the country’s economy will be more competitive internationally. As well as policymakers and practitioners, this research could be used by academicians for advancing theoretical development around the cultural triggers and barriers for adopting more innovative and fresher CAS in Sri Lanka. The originality of this research can be justified on two counts. Firstly, although a wealth of research exists that examines the influence of culture on behaviour, this research specifically evaluates the impact of cultural factors on attitudes towards costing. These factors could be facilitators or obstructions for implementing CAS. Secondly, this research aims to combine both earlier and recent theories of institutionalism with Clifford Geertz’s cultural theory, to investigate how people and institutions in Sri Lanka adopt CAS. Earlier studies have focused merely on earlier theories of institutional homogeneity.
    • The resistance in management accounting practices towards a neoliberal economy

      Nagirikandalage, Padmi; Binsardi, Ben; Kooli, Kaouther; Anh Ngoc Pham; University of Chester; Glyndwr University; Bournemouth University; Glyndwr University
      Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the resistance in management accounting practices (MAPs) in a developing economy in the manufacturing and service sectors in Vietnam. Design/methodology/approach – Data collection was carried out using survey questionnaires in Vietnamese language. The questionnaires were distributed to selected respondents from the manufacturing and service organisations in Vietnam. Textual structuralism was used to analyse different categories of data, i.e. survey questionnaires, photos and qualitative texts obtained from the literature. Findings –The findings indicate that the usage of MAPs is more prevalent in the manufacturing sector than in the service sector. In addition, various traditional and contemporary MAPs are being used concurrently in Vietnam, which challenges the classical twofold dichotomy between mere socialism and mere neoliberalism. Research limitations/implications – The textual and photographic structuralism is used in this study to analyse primary data (geography and society and time) in a static setting. Hence, it does not analyse the research phenomena in a dynamic equilibrium setting to view the development of the research phenomena over time. Further research could expand data collection to include longitudinal and dynamic settings. Practical implications – MAPs can be implemented in economic systems ranging from command to capitalist systems. Although most countries in the world follow a mixed economic system, specific MAPs could be designed for a transitional economic system such as that of Vietnam. This affects both theorists and practitioners in Vietnam applying sustainable MAPs to boost a country’s competitiveness during transition. Originality/value – This study expands understanding of the conformity of MAPs in relation to economic systems under the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) – the ruling party of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Understanding the differences in the way these MAPs are utilised constitutes an essential area of the accounting discipline to advance MAPs in Vietnamese enterprises and progress theoretical development of sustainable MAPs.