Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you will be able to:

  • identify factors that have influenced the development of financial reporting;

  • provide examples of how those factors have effected change in particular countries;

  • list a number of variables that affect the development of accounting rules in different jurisdictions;

  • explain the contingent model of accounting change;

  • apply the theories of accounting development to new situations
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praatafrikaans: http://www.flickr.com/photos/praatafrikaans/171602015/


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4 The public policy-action relationship: activities

Having read this unit you now have the opportunity to reflect on the public policy-action relationship in more detail. There are two activities and two self assessment questions (SAQs) for you to complete.

Activity 1 A focus for reading

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3 Governance, policy and action

It was noted earlier in this unit that the models you would meet are both descriptive/explanatory and normative. In Section 2 they were used as explanatory tools to illuminate different possible causes as to why change might not happen in the ways that policy makers intended. This might be viewed as failure, or it might signify the system adapting to circumstances that were not covered by the original policy. In other words, not all implementation failure is necessarily a policy failure: poli
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2 The models in action: what counts is what works?

As noted at the start of Session 1, the models of change can be both explanatory and normative. As explanations, each corresponds to a different theoretical tradition. So do you just pick the one that seems most compelling? Or do different theories help explain different kinds of phenomena? The answer suggested here closely follows the work on metaphors by Gareth Morgan (1986), who sets out a number of different models of organisations (some of which map on to those outlined here). Morgan arg
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1.5 The problem of power: policy as political

The plural polity that characterises contemporary policy making means that many stakeholders are involved in the policy-action relationship dynamic, from commercial firms, public and non-profit organisations, the professions, central and local government, service delivery organisations, trade unions and the media, to organised groups of the public itself. Viewing policy as political, then, does not mean simply focusing on politicians. Rather, it signifies adopting a stakeholder perspective in
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1.4 The contribution of culture: policy as meaning making

The third model of the relationship between policy and action, between structure and agency, is based on the idea that human agency cannot be understood by simply regarding people either as cogs in a machine or as elements in an interactive system. Rather, human beings are meaning makers and act on the basis of their understandings and interpretations of events. In other words, they construct their own reality. Such constructions are not unique to them as individuals, but draw on a stock of s
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1.2 The machinery of government: policy as rational planning

Much of the policy literature is imbued with a rather mechanical conception of change: ideas about ‘pulling levers’ to make things happen, or about applying different ‘tools’ or ‘instruments’, all conceive the policy system as something like a machine itself. Component parts – the government departments, regulatory bodies, delivery organisations, and even the people who staff them – are viewed as connected though static and predictable mechanisms. The system is seen as non-ada
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6 Conclusion

We have covered a lot of ground in this unit – yet, at one level, the message is simple: knowledge involves knowers – people – who learn how to think and act in the here-and-now of specific contexts. Practice situated in specific contexts is rarely if ever idiosyncratic, utterly individualistic or random. Rather, it is shaped by past practice. Informal and explicit formal rules – the institutional ‘rules of the game’ (North, 1990) – enable and constrain particular activit
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4.2 Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy as a concept has had an interesting career: it begins in France in the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century, the German state constructed by its first Chancellor, Bismarck, was a model bureaucracy in both its armed forces and civil administration. Weber (1978) realised that the creation of the modern state of Germany had only been possible because of the development of a disciplined state bureaucracy and a bureaucratised standing army – innovations pioneered in Prussia
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2.5.1 Anglo-zone connections

Much of today's global interconnectedness has been shaped by the legacies of long-standing trading patterns, imperial expansion, colonisation and strategic military interventions. From the late seventeenth century to the mid twentieth century, Britain presided over the largest empire in global history – although expansion was tempered by adjustment as former colonies gained independence. With the benefit of hindsight, the American War of Independence (1775–1783) or the American Revolution
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Introduction

This unit looks at the management of local knowledge-generating practices. You will explore the processes that link practices to global contexts and learn to identify the key dimensions of globalisation and explore the implications for knowing how to ‘do things’ in a variety of contexts. You will go on to compare the approaches to managing and organising, based on universally applicable principles, with context-specific rationalities and look at how viable interpretations of reality might
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6 Summary

The aim of the first section was to introduce you to the concept of the market-led approach to marketing (also referred to as pan-company marketing or marketing orientation) and to differentiate it from ‘marketing department marketing’. I used examples and case studies to make you think about the applicability of this concept to commercial (for-profit) and non-profit organisations, and gave you activities to help you apply it in your own organisation.

Five of the learning outcomes w
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5.1 Managing relationships

You should now understand that markets and the customers within them are the responsibility of all managers within an organisation. An organisation needs to identify what will create extra value for its customers, and design a value-driven operating system that will concentrate all its efforts on producing it. This process of going to market involves the organisation in managing the relationships between itself and its customers and competitors, and also in the co-ordination of the organisati
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4 How do organisations become market leaders?

Drucker (1992) wrote:

The five most important questions you will ever ask about your organization [are]:

  • What is our business?

  • Who is our customer?

  • What does our customer consider value?

  • What have been our results?

  • What is our plan?

Can you answer these questions for your own organisation? I don't expect you to know all the answers now. Try to think about them
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3.3 Implications of market orientation

An organisation that develops and performs its production and marketing activities with the aim of satisfying the needs of its customers is market oriented. However, using market-led ideas in the non-profit sector requires a fundamental shift in organisational philosophy. Identifying those people who add value to the service means renaming some users ‘customers’. It also means that you have to establish what they want before you begin the planning processes and you have to concede
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7 Summary

You should now have a clearer idea of the context in which accounting is set. You should also be aware that accounting is the recording and processing of data into information, of the characteristics of ‘good’ information, and of the relationship between accounting and organisational objectives.

Now, you should complete the following self-assessed question.

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6.2 Conflicting objectives

You have just seen how an objective to maximise market share may not be compatible with an objective to maximise profits. Businesses may have multiple objectives, many of which conflict. Think, for example, how difficult it would be for an oil refinery to both maximise profits and minimise the effect upon the environment of its production activities. Similarly, maintaining high product quality while minimising costs would be extremely difficult.

Imagine if a business was struggling. Its
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5 The characteristics of ‘good’ information

Have you ever seen a set of published accounts for a company? If you haven’t or, even if you have, take a look at some now. (They are often called the annual report.)

Internet activities are intended to show you the large range of information available at your fingertips. Some of it is useful, most of it is not. Accountants are increasingly having to deal with growing quantities of information and many are having to search for relevant information as part of their jobs. These I
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5.3 The selection interview

The aim of the selection interview is to determine whether the candidate is interested in the job and competent to do it. A selection interview also has the following functions:

  • to explain the work of the organisation, the job and any features such as induction and probation

  • to set expectations on both sides, including a realistic discussion of any potential difficulties (if appropriate)

  • to enable the candidate to ass
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