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When spaces collide: exploring the dual responsibilities of operations managers

When spaces collide: exploring the dual responsibilities of operations managers The purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which notions of space, constituted by management accounting and operations, interact, conflict and are understood by operations managers in a variety of situations within the context of iron ore mining. The authors address a dual question: How do accounting space and production space relate to each other? And what does it mean for operations managers to reside in both those spaces at once?Design/methodology/approachThe paper is based on field studies at a mining company involving operations managers who experience tensions between accounting and production responsibilities and must prioritize between different courses of action to create value.FindingsIn contrast to the view that management accounting poses a problem for operations managers in production environments, the authors show how especially discursive tensions foster reflection and choice. Operations managers prioritize their actions in accordance with management accounting or operations based on how they experience and reflect upon the tensions they encounter, dominating artifacts and their experienced relation to space. Operations managers are not tied to specific spaces, but they prioritize their responsibility to management accounting or operations depending on the space to which they feel a sense of belongingness.Originality/valueDrawing upon a conceptualization of tensions between management accounting and operations as a spatial phenomenon, it is possible to understand the dilemmas experienced by operations managers in a dynamic and relational way. The authors propose that viewing tensions between management accounting and production as spatial phenomena enables a novel understanding of how such tensions can create reflexivity in responsibility with operations managers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management Emerald Publishing

When spaces collide: exploring the dual responsibilities of operations managers

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References (57)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1176-6093
DOI
10.1108/qram-02-2019-0031
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which notions of space, constituted by management accounting and operations, interact, conflict and are understood by operations managers in a variety of situations within the context of iron ore mining. The authors address a dual question: How do accounting space and production space relate to each other? And what does it mean for operations managers to reside in both those spaces at once?Design/methodology/approachThe paper is based on field studies at a mining company involving operations managers who experience tensions between accounting and production responsibilities and must prioritize between different courses of action to create value.FindingsIn contrast to the view that management accounting poses a problem for operations managers in production environments, the authors show how especially discursive tensions foster reflection and choice. Operations managers prioritize their actions in accordance with management accounting or operations based on how they experience and reflect upon the tensions they encounter, dominating artifacts and their experienced relation to space. Operations managers are not tied to specific spaces, but they prioritize their responsibility to management accounting or operations depending on the space to which they feel a sense of belongingness.Originality/valueDrawing upon a conceptualization of tensions between management accounting and operations as a spatial phenomenon, it is possible to understand the dilemmas experienced by operations managers in a dynamic and relational way. The authors propose that viewing tensions between management accounting and production as spatial phenomena enables a novel understanding of how such tensions can create reflexivity in responsibility with operations managers.

Journal

Qualitative Research in Accounting & ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 15, 2020

Keywords: Management accounting; Responsibility; Production; Tension; Space; Everyday work; Operations managers

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