Sustaining multiple logics within hybrid organisations: Accounting, mediation and the search for innovation

Cristiano Busco, Elena Giovannoni, Angelo Riccaboni

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Purpose – This paper explores how accounting and control practices contribute to the persistence of the multiple logics that characterise hybrid organizations, i.e. organizations that constantly incorporate elements from different institutional logics at the very core of their identity.
Design/methodology – We draw on the literature regarding institutional logics and on studies exploring the enabling power of accounting to interpret the findings derived from a longitudinal case study of a hybrid organization operating in the field of brain-computer interface technology.
Findings – Our study shows that the persistence of conflicting logics and innovation within hybrid organizations can be sustained through the mediating role of accounting and control practices. By engaging different interested parties within processes of innovation, these practices can establish complex interconnections between conflicting perspectives and their objects of concern. Consequently, accounting and control do not address a specific logic but instead contribute to lock different parties to their own logic, allowing them to engage and generate innovation while maintaining their diversity.
Originality/value – Whereas previous studies have explored mechanisms for keeping the multiple logics of hybrids separate or for reconciling them, our paper shows that conflicts between these logics do not need to be reduced but can be mediated to generate innovation. Additionally, we contribute to the literature on accounting ‘in action’, by illustrating the role of accounting and control practices as boundary objects that act within a broader ‘ecology of objects’ through which innovation materializes in a context of enduring institutional pluralism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-216
Number of pages26
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • hybrid organizations; institutional logics; accounting and control; boundary objects; innovation

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