Dent Questions

A starting point to defining culture is taking a closer look into Dent’s influential study of how accounting became implicated with organizational change at Euro Rail, a public railway company with roots in the Victorian era. The purpose of the study was aimed at examining how accounting is mobilized for reconstructing an organization’s culture, it helped to understand how culture shapes action. Within his study, Dent goes to define what culture is, he describes the culture as an elusive concept. (Dent, 1991) In Dent’s study, a cultural change occurred in the course of a complete organizational reorientation as the company was privatized and the old service-focused operational management culture gave way to a more commercial executive ethos; here, a management system replaced the old fashioned system. Top management’s reliance on the new accounting controls subsequently led to the language, decisions and actions that reshaped other organizational participants’ views of problems, priorities and possibilities for further action. According to Dent, culture is defined to be, “the broad constellation of interpretive structures through which actions and events are rendered meaningful in a community.”(Dent, 1991) The concept of culture relies on information taken from anthropology, and ethnography, which has come from literature based on the ideational of organizations.