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Tema da Tese: The process of acceptance, design, and implementation of an ABC system: an interventionist case in a Portuguese company

Autor: Raúl da Silva Dores

Orientadores: Paulo Sérgio Lima Pereira Afonso; Lúcia Lima Rodrigues

Data: 16/07/2021

Programa Doutoral:  Programa Doutoral em Engenharia Industrial e de Sistemas

Abstract: This thesis is the result of an interventionist study conducted in a large Portuguese company between September 2011 and January 2014. The purpose of this study, in the form of a PhD studentship in Industry, was twofold. On the one hand, it attempted a contribution to the host company through the implementation of an activity-based costing (ABC) system across the company to measure the profitability of its products, customers, and business areas. On the other hand, it had the intention to contribute to the academia, with new theoretical and practical knowledge, through the interpretation of the process of adoption (acceptance and implementation) of ABC. This thesis comprises three essays and explores technological and sociological aspects of the acceptance and implementation process of the ABC system. It also explores methodological aspects related to interventionist research. The first essay focuses on the study of the pilot implementation process of the ABC system, which took place between September 2011 and May 2012. It explores the role that visualizations played during such process. Implementing an ABC system across the entire company requires ‘receive’ and ‘give’ information, at which is coming from different actors, with different interests and knowledge. Visualizations acting as boundary objects are an important mediator in this process. The second essay accounts the story about the process of acceptance and implementation of the ABC. This essay joins several concepts of institutional theory to interpret the case. Linking institutional logics, institutional work and variations of management practices, this essay explores why PortechCo accepts to implement the ABC, and afterwards during the implementation, explores how and why individuals make adaptations on the ABC technique according to the technical, cultural, and political characteristics of the company. The third essay, conducted through an autoethnographic study, explores some experiences of the interventionist researcher as a practitioner in the host company, and then as an academic, interacting with other scholars, searching for answers to justify the interventionist research method. This essay open avenues to the interventionist research methodology joining autoethnographic methods to the research. The interventionist researcher, as the object and the subject of study, could take a better position to tell and write interventionist case studies with autoethnography.