What does Value Stream Costing Do? Using Actor Network Theory to analyse the introduction of value stream costing in a Lean Environment
conference contributionposted on 24.02.2021, 09:50 by Sarah Mohamed
As an action research project informed by Actor Network Theory (ANT), the study was located in a factory of a multinational manufacturing company adopting a lean manufacturing system. The research project began by problematizing the costing system deployed in the factory which did not use value stream costing. The problematization process was informed through examining the conceptual issues related to the adoption of the lean accounting Value Stream Costing (VSC) tool. After enrolling local allies sympathetic to the project, the project proceeded through the installation of VSC. The study tested the performativity of VSC by tracing its effects on product cost and analyzed if, or to what extent, the company is willing to actually implement it. The study suggested that, given the factory current value stream identification pattern, the use of VSC had a negative effect on the product unit cost. This is coupled with other organizational and control reasons negatively affected managers’ willingness to use VSC. The ANT approach contributes to the literature by exploring the performativity of VSC in relation to other artifacts associated with lean manufacturing. It also located VSC within the wider networks of accounting actors in the local division and in the company headquarters. More generally, the use of an ANT framework establishes links between recent developments in lean accounting literature with seminal research on control at a distance and the politics of the product.