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Hopwood Case Summary

Essay by hk1005  •  May 9, 2018  •  Case Study  •  626 Words (3 Pages)  •  145 Views

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Hopwood started his talk by expressing his concerns about the recent mainstream tendencies in management accounting field. These recent tendencies include the increasing narrowness of outlook and researchers being unwilling to discuss many issues and problems that characterize accounting ideas and practice. In other words, researchers are more concerned with their career in the management accounting field rather than actually being curious about the topics, therefore causing the tendencies where more emphasis is placed on mainstream conceptual and methodological approaches. These approaches often include analytical and economic perspectives but do not include organizational theory and sociology like they used to do. Hopwood also mentioned that researchers tend to look for simplicity and certainty rather than pursuing complexity and challenge in their research. A considerable amount of research does not reflect how the actual accounting works because the research is too focused on the abstract theories. To solve these problems, it is crucial for the management accounting community to be conscious of the pressures for conformity and try to invest more in the preservation of an intellectual and methodological diversity.

        In management accounting, it has been obvious that there should be more integration of theoretical and methodological approaches. Hopwood, then, says that both design and scientific perspectives are important when it comes to making effective organizational change and improvement. For him to illustrate this, he brings us to the debates he has had with Bob Kaplan who has shown his interests in the design part of management accounting, which is evident through his work on activity-based costing and the balanced scorecard. Hopwood, however, coming from a social science background, now believes that both design and social science approaches should be considered when making decisions. The effective organizations are the ones that can be characterized by a variety of sources of information with both information channels and information providers. However, current situation is such that relating information and control systems to particular organizational structures and cultures is still far from the reality.

        There is so much distance between research in business schools and practice in the real business world. A significant amount of finance and accounting students who possess an excellent knowledge of business research tend to have a modest, if not poor, knowledge of practice, because research in business school is, more often than not, directed in ways that are separated from the real-world practice. However, this situation is not something inevitable. Hopwood presents an example of medical science where medical specialist are positioned in a variety of ways and many of them deal with both patients and research. He then provides an example of the flow of ideas between the worlds of practice and research at the applied research centers that he helped create when he was Dean. He, then, went on to say there still needs to be other ways to connect business schools with practice.



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