Shareholder Orientation and the Framing of Management Control Practices: A Field Study in a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores how notions of enhanced shareholder orientation influenced the evolution of management control practices in a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Drawing on the social movement literature and adopting a historically informed field study approach we examine how this took the form of a protracted framing process where an emerging, shareholder-focused frame interacted with the extant work unit frame embedded in Maoist ideology and the broader cultural system of Confucianism to imbue control practices with context-specific meanings. Particular attention is paid to how this interplay fostered varying degrees of frame alignment, denoting the extent to which particular frames are congruent with those enacted by various social actors, and how this affected organisational action. We illustrate how the shareholder-focused frame challenged extant control practices but was also complemented and ultimately replaced by the work unit frame in response to an escalating performance crisis. This leads us to question the ubiquity and pervasiveness of notions of enhanced shareholder orientation as a basis for governance and control practices observed in many “Western”, capitalist economies. We also discuss the broader implications of our analysis for cognate accounting research informed by notions of performativity and social psychology and the possibilities of rapprochement between these approaches and a social movement perspective on framing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages22
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Issue number0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • China, framing, ideology, management control, state-owned enterprises.


Dive into the research topics of 'Shareholder Orientation and the Framing of Management Control Practices: A Field Study in a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this