The paper brings to light the horizontal dimension of hegemony, i.e. the relationship between dominant social groups as they form a ‘power bloc’ and its significance for management accounting control (MAC) changes, drawing on an intensive case study of a public sector unit in Pakistan. The study finds that the political strategies of the two dominant social groups eventually led to a ‘conflicted compromise’, resulting in changes to the MACs in the case organisation. However, the ideologies of both groups were seriously compromised vis-a-vis the enacted MACs. This necessitated the use of coercive measures to compel the dominated groups, such as lower pay-grade employees and labour, to accept the changes. We argue that the use of coercive measures without ideological support resulted in a weak hegemonic arrangement at the level of the firm, with implications for possible resistance from the dominated groups and for the longevity of the MAC changes. The paper is informed by a critical realist interpretation of hegemony which helps improve our understanding of the role of the state in bringing about MAC changes. Based on our analysis, we argue that it would be useful not only to trace the economic compulsions of the state but also to examine the vested interests of powerful social groups engaged in hegemonic struggles within the state for better understanding of NPM-driven MAC changes in an SOE.
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