University of Oulu

The role of accounting in management control systems of firms having subsidiaries in the former Soviet Union

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Author: Moilanen, Sinikka1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Accounting and Finance
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2008
Publish Date: 2008-09-23
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium TA105, Linnanmaa, on October 3rd, 2008, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Cristiano Busco
Professor Markus Granlund


This thesis investigates how Finnish firms, as examples of Western firms, control and steer the operations of their subsidiaries in Russia and the Baltic countries and the role of accounting in the management control systems. The thesis consists of three essays, which focus on different aspects of the role of accounting in the management control systems. Even though the issues discussed in this thesis are probably not unique to the area of the former Soviet Union, the characteristics of business in this context highlight specific management control questions relating to organising and using power within management control systems.

The first essay investigates the changing role of accounting in a knowledge transfer process between a head office and subsidiaries to show the importance of informal communication and cooperation in the development of accounting. Only after some time of intense informal cooperation and the development of social capital in the accounting-mediated knowledge transfer can more formal accounting controls can be relied on. The second essay illustrates how the central social position of an individual can be reproduced and how it affects accounting and formal reporting in the control system. The third essay investigates the role and power of an intermediate subsidiary in using accounting for controlling and steering the operations of its subsidiaries, when the intermediate acts between the subsidiaries and its own Western parent company. The intermediate can invoke the tensions between divergent social systems and thus use accounting signifiers according to its own needs, legitimating its existence despite the inflexibility the multilevel organizational structure may cause. Therefore, the whole thesis suggests that accounting plays an important role in integrating firms in very different contexts, but this can only happen with the help of more informal supportive structures and knowledgeable agents who utilise accounting. This is how accounting develops business thinking so that the practices adapted to the local demanding circumstances could also give something back to the parent companies.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. G, Oeconomica
ISSN-E: 1796-2269
ISBN: 978-951-42-8881-4
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8880-7
Issue: 34
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2008. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.