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Strategic management accounting and managerial decision-making reconceptualised: towards a collaboratively oriented theory of organizational decision enhancement (ODE)

Holloway, David (2006) Strategic management accounting and managerial decision-making reconceptualised: towards a collaboratively oriented theory of organizational decision enhancement (ODE). PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis critically assesses the literature on strategic management accounting that is budgeting and corporate governance and also the managerial decision-making literature (primarily in the areas of strategic planning and change management). It is essentially a theory building and analytical thesis utilising a critical social sciene approach. The main aim is the construction of a collaborative theory of decision-making and associated methodology that will underpin and explain a more 'robust' construction of decision outcomes within an individual organizational context.

In doing so it evaluates and synthesises Habermas's theory of communicative action with the intention of incorporating key elements as well as insights from Latour, complexity theory and Peirce in relation to doubt-driven inquiry in a proposed collaboratively oriented theory of organizational decision enhancement (ODE). ODE theory is argued to be widely applicable in the decision-making process utilised by organizations (private, public and non-profit). The claims implicit within the theory and its associated decision-making methodology are assessed empirically at the strategic planning level. This was part of an action research project commenced in July 2001 with Tertiary Institution?s current strategic planning round covering the planning time horizon 2003-2007.

ODE theory postulates that effective decision-making in a world of uncertainty is best undertaken in a practical and collaborative group process. The theory, that I have derived, is stated as follows:

Optimal decision-making which a particular group of decision makers can construct in a world of uncertainty and risk is a pragmatic, recursive and democratised process. The process minimises the role of individual power, authority, self-interest and ego. This collaborative approach focuses on the force of the 'better argument', utilises constructive conflict (CC) and continuous, conscious, collaborative adaptation (CCCA) and results in the selection and monitoring of a 'best-option' decision outcome.

The theory minimises the role of power and authority, focuses on the Habermasian concept of the force of the 'better argument', maximises the utility of resistance to change and results in the selection of a 'best-alternative' option that is subjected to a rigorous, performance measure-based monitoring feedback loop. In so doing this thesis extends significantly the earlier extant literature on organizational decision-making. It effectively revisits the notion of teams and groups in the organizational context and argues for organizations to seriously consider 'reengineering' the decision-making methodology and approach to one that necessitates effective devolution and delegation of decision-making powers. I argue that organizations should allow for and promote a 'cascade' effect to let control, power, authority and collective responsibility filter down through the organizational layers.

Effectiveness and not efficiency (falsely perceived as timely) should be the aim of well-constructed decision outcomes. The adaptability and self-organising capability of the workforce requires an inclusive, not exclusive, decision-making methodology to unlock and realise the full future potential of the organization.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Murdoch Business School
Supervisor(s): Entrekin, Lanny
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