Professional competition, economic value added and management control strategies

Mahmoud Ezzamel, John Burns

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    67 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines a failed change initiative (the implementation of economic value added, EVA™) in an in-depth case study of a major UK retailer (RetailCo, a pseudonym). The paper locates this change initiative within inter-professional competition between on the one hand the finance managers and on the other hand the buyers and merchandisers in RetailCo. Finance managers sought to strengthen their professional jurisdiction and enhance their financial and symbolic rewards by imposing stricter controls over buyers and merchandisers, which the latter resented as an undesirable intervention into their work practices and mobilized their influence and work knowledge to ensure the abandonment of EVA. This boundary work involved the use of a multiplicity of entry points centred on control strategies and the fundamentals of retailing. Implications for professional competition and organizational change are considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)755-777
    Number of pages23
    JournalOrganization Studies (OS)
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2005


    • Professional competition
    • Boundary work
    • Economic value added
    • Profit margin
    • Organizational change
    • Power/knowledge


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