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Managing multiple dimensions of performance: a field study of balanced scorecard translation in the Thai financial services organisation

By Wila-sini Wongkaew


This thesis examines the process of change in management accounting and control systems (MACSs) in a Thai financial services organisation. Specifically, it traces how a strategic perfOlmance measurement, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), was introduced, constlllcted, modified and re-defined over a period of time and in different organisational units of the organisation. The major aim of the research is to achieve an understanding of how an innovative management control idea, the BSC, was made operable in a particular organisational context. This research is based on intensive field study which involved indepth interviews, direct observations and documentation analysis. Drawing on actornetwork theory (ANT), the research illustrates how the BSC idea was brought into the organisation. It describes the way in which various actors mobilised their interests and concerns to construct the BSC, shows how the BSC collided and was reconciled with other networks of performance measurement and management control, and illustrates the way in which the all-encompassing nature of the BSC affected the design and implementation process. The study provides insights into how a global management idea like the BSC is introduced into an organisation and influences organisational practices while, at the same time, being localised and shaped by local practices. It sheds light on the process of change in performance measurement practices in an organisational context, as well as cnhancing our understanding of the ways in which an integrated performance measurement system such as the BSC operates. In particular, the research illustratcs how two key BSC concepts that are controversial in the existing literature - the notion of�· 'balance' and cause-and-effect relationships - were mobilised within the organisation. It shows that although these concepts are broad and abstract, creating complexities in designing the BSC, they can have a positive impact, generating discussions and solutions among organisational members. In addition, the study shows that the BSC construction process involves ongoing translations by heterogeneous actors - both local and global, human and non-human - who/which attempt to build networks of associations to support their own agenda and beliefs. The case study shows that resistance to the new system does not necessarily lead to a failure of system implementation; rather, it can be a positive force, providing opportunities for relevant actors to modify and appropriate the system. Moreover, the research shows how local BSC meanings and identities emerged via its interplays with these actors, and how the ongoing translations led the BSC to become something that it was not initially. However, this does not mean that the BSC and its implementation failed. Rather, it suggests the ability of the BSC to be shaped in different ways to make it work in specific situations. Arguably, it is this open nature of the BSC: which allows different actors to interpret, modify and construct their own versions of it, that makes it powerful

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