Reflecting Reality or Shaping Reality? A Qualitative Case Study of the Intra-Organisational Interpretation and Mobilisation of IFRS 15

Detta är en D-uppsats från Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Sammanfattning: This thesis explores the introduction of the revenue recognition standard, IFRS 15, into a global, multinational organisation. Through a single, qualitative case study based on semi-structured interviews, it aims to examine the intra-organisational interpretation and mobilisation of IFRS 15. By applying the theoretical concept of boundary-work as introduced by Gieryn (1983), this study finds that in an attempt to concretise what the standard meant for the organisation, the group accounting function standardised the processes and practices relating to the revenue recognition process. This resulted in increased centralisation and decreased flexibility for the operational organisation. As a response, organisational actors mobilised themselves to create boundaries, to define and redefine their positions in the organisational context. Hence, the requirements of IFRS 15 created a tension between the vertical, hierarchical, steering process and the horizontal, operational process, where the hierarchical structure was less rigid. These findings suggest that as the standard was introduced, it became dispersed in the organisation, resulting in various enactments within the organisation. Thus, the study's main contribution to the literature on the intra-organisational interpretation of accounting-related regulatory frameworks and concepts, as IFRS, is that rather than being a single implementation process, the interpretation of an accounting standard can become enacted through multiple implementation processes in various organisational places. Further, we conclude that when boundaries are not originating from a single organisational place, but from multiple organisational places, boundaries are continuously redrawn and re-enacted in a dynamic and relational process. Thus, our findings suggest that an accounting standard both shapes and is being shaped by the organisational context which it seeks to represent. Lastly, our study also contributes to the previous literature on boundary-work by illustrating how boundaries are mobilised from more than a single organisational place.

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