The dispersed sociomateriality of management control – How big data analytics is also small and situated Event as iCalendar

(Accounting and Finance)

23 November 2018

11am - 12:30pm

Venue: The University of Auckland Business School, Level 3, Room 317, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland, 1010

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) sought to bring comprehensive, standardised and integrated corporate data to bear on the operational control of organisations. More recently, big data analytics aspires to pursue this ambition on a dramatically grander scale. Through a longitudinal field study we find that the enactment of control via big data analytics depends upon quite different interrelationships between IS and organisational processes than those seen in ERP, and also from empirical claims of big data enthusiasts to uncover hidden patterns in what is ‘really going on’. We analyse how the notion of ‘a single source of truth’ is an endogenous effect of networks of people and diverse materialities rather than an exogenous object that exists outside of these action nets. Materialising big data gives rise to complex negotiations between people, hardware and software concerning who is accountable to whom and for what, that both generates and connects a dispersion of domains of data storage, manipulation and interpretation. Raw data is constructed rather than ‘raw’. The effort of materialising big-data in analytics projects means that it remains epistemologically small, its bigness in terms of volume, velocity and variety notwithstanding. From a control perspective however, this aspect of its smallness comes from a provocative form of freedom (requirement) to negotiate which constraints to make salient thus giving rise to intensive, situated and local deliberations of strategy, operations and control.

Wai Fong Chua is a professor at the University of Sydney Business School. Prior to this she held several senior administrative positions in Australian higher education while continuing to pursue an active research career. Professor Chua holds a first class honours degree and a PhD from Sheffield University.

Professor Chua is internationally known for her research on management accounting as a social and organisational practice and the use of qualitative fieldwork as an investigative method. She has received substantial competitive research grants and published widely in prestigious, international accounting journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, The Accounting Review and Contemporary Accounting Research. In addition to serving as a reviewer on the boards of numerous well-known accounting journals, Professor Chua is an Editor of Accounting, Organizations and Society. She has also been involved with research training through professional accounting associations such as CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and the EIASM (European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management). Further, through Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Professor Chua has published several research monographs on social and environmental reporting. She has also been involved with executive education and consulted with both private and public sector organisations.

In 2012, Professor Chua was recognised for her contributions to research, university administration and mentoring while she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2009, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland and received the Outstanding Contribution to the Accounting and Finance Literature Award from the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand. Professor Chua was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2008.

For more information contact:
John Lee
Ext. 85171