Actor Networks And Translation Of Management Accounting Innovations

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Actor networks and translation of management accounting innovations: A case study of BSC in public sector organization


Number of researchers during 1990’s have paid attention to the complex nature of accounting change (Briers & Chua, 2001). Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and activity based costing (ABC) are considered by many researchers as prominent new management accounting techniques which have became global expert systems (Jones & Dugdale, 2002; Ax & Bjornenak, 2005). The main actors who are involved in the development of these expert systems can be identified as business schools, consultants, business media and accounting professional bodies (Major & Hopper, 2005). This phenomenon has attracted the attention of researchers,
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Mainly, as indicated above, there is a relative lack of research that examines the translation of new management accounting techniques in non Anglo-American countries. Secondly, there has been no research carried out related to adoption of BSC in the public sector in Sri Lanka. During 1996- 2003 there were only two research articles published in Sri Lanka which related to BSC and used as a framework to analyze the rubber goods and tea export firms. Therefore, Sri Lanka as a developing country provides an immense opportunity to examine how new management accounting techniques such as BSC travel as a concept to a usable management technique and how new management accounting techniques are entering organizational practices in Sri Lankan public sector organization.

Background to the Research

A review conducted by Wickramasinghe et al (2007) found that as a new MA technique, BSC has generally attracted other professionals in Sri Lanka. Further review of events showed BSC have turned in to an

“intellectual property” of CIMA (SL) and its members and they appear to be the only propagator of BSC (Wickramasinghe et al, 2007). They also observe that regardless of several attempts taken by CIMA (SL) with regard to the number of events, it was not successful in getting out the BSC from management accountants circle.

However, the content analysis undertaken by the Wickramasinghe et al (2007) further revealed that neither professional magazines,
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