July saw the presentation of Will Seal and Ian Herbert’s ‘Actor-based management and captive shared services’ paper at another successful CGSS brown bag seminar. The seminar proved to be a great platform for insight into and discussion of the work; due to be presented at the 9th Management Control Research Conference at Nyenrode Business University, The Netherlands.
Title: ‘Actor-based management and captive shared services: a model for creative governance in the SME sector?’ Wednesday 24th July 2013 (12:30pm – 13:30pm) in BE.0.40 (School of Business and Economics) Lougborough University.
Abstract: The organisational context of the shared services organisation (SSO) has generally been the large, mature, often multi-national and multi-divisional corporation. The SSO is seen as part of a story of organisational change and service transformation via a process of corporate unbundling, as support services are taken out of the division and placed in SSOs. In contrast, the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) will struggle to provide sufficient scale or expertise for a single function service centre let alone a multi-function SSO. For many SMEs, support services are usually provided either via outsourcing or through some form of incubator model, this paper makes two claims to novelty, first, in terms of its empirical focus, it presents a longitudinal case study of how a small but growing service firm used the shared service concept as part of its growth and internationalisation strategy.
Secondly, in terms of its theoretical and methodological approach, the case is interpreted using an anchor-based methodology (Arbnor and Bjerke, 2009) drawing specifically on a pragmatic constructivist (PC) perspective (Nørreklit, et al., 2006; Nørreklit, 2011). The actor-based approach to organisational design has been portrayed as a method for discovering an nurturing models of creative governance that enable business growth and value creation (Nørreklit, 2011; Jakobsen et al., 2011).
This paper argues that the success of the case company in growing and capturing value may partly be attributed to the way that the company’s SSO model was aligned with its actor-based philosophy of management control. In short, it will be argued that the captive SSO in combination with actor-based management control principles can form part of a creative governance framework applicable in the SME sector (Nørreklit, 2011).