Forming mixed-type inter-organisational relationships in Sub-Saharan Africa: The role of institutional logics, social identities and institutionally embedded agency

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Abstract

Neo-liberal reforms in Sub-Saharan African countries, under pressure from international donors, have increased the number of mixed-type inter-organisational relationships in their public sectors. However, existing accounting studies often ignore the role of institutional environments and institutionally embedded agents in shaping these relationships. This is an important omission in Sub-Saharan Africa given its institutional complexity. This paper reports a case study of a national public pension fund in a Sub-Saharan African country which invests in real estate developments through mixed-type inter-organisational relationships. We show how it develops new inter-organisational management controls by selectively coupling its private sector and public sector logics at the organisational level, while at the individual level institutionally embedded organisational actors, drawing on social identities which enact societal-level logics, can impede (and possibly subvert) these controls. For this purpose, we develop a conceptual framework by drawing on the institutional logics perspective, and especially microfoundations provided by Thornton and her colleagues, which recognises institutional logics at various levels and highlights the importance of social identity and embedded agency. We argue that, rather than implementing the ‘best practices’ from developed countries, research should look for African solutions which build on and adapt traditional institutional logics and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102232
Number of pages57
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Volume78
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • institutional logics
  • inter-organisational relationships
  • management controls
  • public organisations
  • sub-saharan Africa

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