The role of identity and image in shaping management accounting change

Lynda Taylor, Robert Scapens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
587 Downloads (Pure)


– The purpose of this paper is to analyse the implementation of a new accounting system in the accounting department of a large retail company. The paper seeks to understand and explain how management accounting change can be shaped by the identity and image of particular groups in an organisation.

– This paper reports the findings of a longitudinal explanatory case study. An institutional framework was initially used to inform the research, but was subsequently extended using the concepts of identity and image.

– By changing existing accounting systems, the accountants “inside” the accounting department sought to challenge their current “negative” identity and image. However, the case shows that the new accounting system was not well received by accountants “outside” the accounting department. The case illustrates that the differing identity and image of the two groups of accountants were crucial factors underlying the different perceptions of the accounting change.

– The conceptual framework developed in this paper highlights the role which identity and image can play in shaping processes of change, and it enriches the understanding of the reasons for change, stability and resistance to change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1099
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Change
  • Institutional theory
  • Theory
  • Identity
  • Accounting
  • Image


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