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Per Nikolaj Bukh, Karina Skovvang Christensen and Anne Kirstine Svanholt
This paper aims to explore how the introduction of new accounting information influences the understandings of cost-consciousness. Furthermore, the paper explores how…
This paper aims to explore how the introduction of new accounting information influences the understandings of cost-consciousness. Furthermore, the paper explores how managers use accounting information to shape organizational members’ understanding of changes, and how focusing on cost-consciousness influence professional culture within social services.
The paper is based on a case study, drawing on sensemaking as a theoretical lens. Top management, middle management and staff specialists at a medium-sized Danish municipality are interviewed.
The paper demonstrates how accounting metaphors can be effective in linking cost information and cost-consciousness to operational decisions in daily work practices. Further, the study elucidates how professionalism may be strengthened based on the use of accounting information.
The study is context specific, and the role of accounting in professional work varies on the basis of the specific techniques involved.
The paper shows how managers influence how professionals interpret and use accounting information. It shows how cost-consciousness can be integrated with social work practices to improve service quality.
The paper contributes to the literature on how accounting information influences social work. To date, only a few papers have focused on how cost-consciousness can be understood in practice and how it influences professional culture. Further, the study expands the limited accounting metaphor research.
Per Nikolaj Bukh and Anne Kirstine Svanholt
This paper examines how a public sector organization combined management control systems (MCS) to comply with increased uncertainty and conflicting objectives of tight…
This paper examines how a public sector organization combined management control systems (MCS) to comply with increased uncertainty and conflicting objectives of tight budget control, flexibility, and quality care simultaneously. It also analyzes how middle managers interpret management control intentions and manage conflicting objectives, and how locally developed MCS are coupled with top management goals.
This paper uses a case-study approach, based on interviews with top and middle managements, as well as document studies conducted at a medium-sized Danish municipality.
Both constraining and enabling control systems empower middle managers and facilitate tight budget controls. Furthermore, middle managers play a crucial role in the use of MCS, develop local control systems, adjust existing control systems and influence the decisions and strategies of top management.
This paper is context-specific, and the role of accounting in professional work varies due to the specific techniques involved.
This paper shows how MCS, including budgeting and planning systems, can be applied in social services to help middle managements obtain tight budget controls while also improving service quality.
This paper adds to the limited extant research on the role of middle management in a control framework and demonstrates how MCS can balance conflicting goals in social services when uncertainty increases. Furthermore, this paper shows how the vertical coupling of MCS is tight when budgeting is employed for planning purposes.