Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Accounting and Finance


This is a critical reflexive ethnography of the South Austrahan Housing Trust (SAHT) between 1991-1994. The SAHT was estabhshed as a statutory authority with dual roles, which were to provide affordable housing to low income earners and to do so in a manner which contributed to the state's overall social and economic welfare. These dual roles influenced the culture of the organization and act as a context in which to analyse and understand a number of events. The SAHT's internal predisposition to change helped it to respond to reduced government funding and a change in general managers by undergoing structural changes. LaughUn's (1991) organizational change model is used to identify and classify these changes as first order, re-orientation. LOCM accommodated the use of reflexivity to expose and understand the processes by which accounting information systems influenced the changes to the SAHT's structure and culture. By contrast the changes resulting from the implementation of the pubhc sector reforms were externally imposed and spht the organization into two separate entities, thus decoupUng the SAHT's humanitarian and business roles. The rhetoric of manageriahsm to procure change claimed objectivity and used accounting information systems to achieve the imperatives of accountabihty and transparency. The ideological impact of economic rationahsm was disguised as merely offering functional clarity in order to understate the significance of these changes. LOCM was used to demonstrate the significance of this colonization as it had the consequence of disempowering the organization.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.