Exploring efficiency's dominance: the wholeness of the process

Patrick J. Devlin (Division of Accounting and Finance, Caledonian Business School, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Publication date: 22 June 2010



The purpose of this paper is to utilise Williams' writings on hegemony in order to examine why and how in the last 25 years efficiency has come to dominate the public sector and to explore the consequences of this development.


The paper employs a literature‐based analysis and critique.


Williams' model is able to explain why and how the public sector has become preoccupied with a selective version of efficiency, the significant role played by accounting, and the cultural clashes encountered in the public sector.

Research limitations/implications

Williams' model could be used in a variety of settings for a variety of purposes.


Williams' writings are new to the accounting literature. The paper is novel also in that it uses Williams' writings to explain efficiency's dominance.



Devlin, P. (2010), "Exploring efficiency's dominance: the wholeness of the process", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 141-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/11766091011050831

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