Using a case study of accounting regime change in a Malaysian company, this paper analyses how an accounting regime was changed to overcome an instance of decoupling that management of the case company perceived to be problematic and, despite certain technological and managerial improvements, why the accounting regime yet remained decoupled from the control of core operations. Through an eclectic use of ANT, neo-institutionalism and political economy, it demonstrates that accounting remains decoupled from operational processes because of the particular manner in which accounting is constructed and enabled; the ostensive characteristics of accounting objects around which performativity of accounting is defined; and the organisational context, which involves certain ‘political imperfections’ that cannot be narrated within organisational apparatus of modernity. Accounting, being an apparatus of modernity, finds it difficult to codify such ‘imperfections’ and to offer an operational doctrine to govern the real business processes that are embedded within these ‘imperfections’. Hence, it remains decoupled from core operational activities but performs an important role of insulating ‘political imperfections’ with which business operates.
- Management control
- Accounting change