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Article
Publication date: 24 February 2020

Tomi J. Kallio, Kirsi-Mari Kallio and Annika Blomberg

This purpose of this study is to understand how the spread of audit culture and the related public sector reforms have affected Finnish universities’ organization…

Abstract

Purpose

This purpose of this study is to understand how the spread of audit culture and the related public sector reforms have affected Finnish universities’ organization principles, performance measurement (PM) criteria and ultimately their reason for being.

Design/methodology/approach

Applying extensive qualitative data by combining interview data with document materials, this study takes a longitudinal perspective toward the changing Finnish higher education field.

Findings

The analysis suggests the reforms have altered universities’ administrative structures, planning and control systems, coordination mechanisms and the role of staff units, as well as the allocation of power and thus challenged their reason for being. Power has become concentrated into the hands of formal managers, while operational core professionals have been distanced from decision making. Efficiency in terms of financial and performance indicators has become a coordinating principle of university organizations, and PM practices are used to steer the work of professionals. Because of the reforms, universities have moved away from the ideal type of professional bureaucracy and begun resembling the new, emerging ideal type of competitive bureaucracy.

Originality/value

This study builds on rich, real-life, longitudinal empirical material and details a chronological description of the changes in Finland’s university sector. Moreover, it illustrates how the spread of audit culture and the related legislative changes have transformed the ideal type of university organization and challenged universities’ reason for being. These changes entail significant consequences regarding universities as organizations and their role in society.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Annika Blomberg

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the discursive practices employed in academic research on organizational creativity through a critical lens.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the discursive practices employed in academic research on organizational creativity through a critical lens.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature on organizational creativity is reviewed from a discourse-theoretical perspective and three groupings of dominant discursive practices are identified. The theoretical and practical implications of the practices are discussed, and other potential aspects of creativity that appear to have been neglected or suppressed in the discourse are further examined.

Findings

The dominant discursive practices in the organizational creativity research contribute to the building of a simplified and one-sided picture of organizational creativity; a stripped-down and diluted version that is more easily achievable and manageable, and leads to positive outcomes. Failure to recognize its inherent complexities reduces the value of creativity as an organizational asset.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to the organizational creativity research in recognizing a range of dominant practices that appear to promote the dilution of the concept. Although the diluted and stripped-down version of organizational creativity suits the managerial agenda and complies with organizational discourse, it fails as an organizational asset, which should be about embracing the unconventional and risky, and taking advantage of change.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Tomi J. Kallio, Kirsi-Mari Kallio and Annika Johanna Blomberg

The purpose of this study is to explore the potential positive effects of the design of a physical organisational environment on the emergence of an organisational culture…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the potential positive effects of the design of a physical organisational environment on the emergence of an organisational culture conducive to organisational creativity.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on an in-depth, longitudinal case study, the aim being to enhance understanding of how a change in physical space, including location, spatial organisation and architectonic details, supports cultural change.

Findings

It is suggested that physical space plays an implicit yet significant role in the emergence of a culture conducive to organisational creativity. It appears from the case analysis that there are three aspects of culture in particular, equality, openness and collectivity, that may be positively affected by the design of an organisation’s physical environment.

Practical implications

The careful choice, planning and design of an organisation’s physical location, layout and style can advance the appearance of an organisational culture conducive to creativity.

Originality/value

The paper describes a longitudinal study comparing a case organisation before and after a change in its physical environment. The longitudinal data illustrates how a change in the spatial environment contributes to the emergence of a culture conducive to organisational creativity.

Details

Facilities, vol. 33 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article
Publication date: 31 January 2020

Daniela Argento, Dorota Dobija and Giuseppe Grossi

The purpose of this paper is to highlight and compare insights from research conducted in different disciplines on the effects of the use of calculative practices in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight and compare insights from research conducted in different disciplines on the effects of the use of calculative practices in academia. It also acts as an introduction to the special issue on “governing by numbers: audit culture and contemporary tales of universities’ accountability”.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews the findings and reflections provided in academic literature on the various types of consequences stemming from the diffusion of the “audit culture” in academia. In so doing, it draws upon insights from previous literature in education, management and accounting, and other papers included in this special issue of Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management.

Findings

The literature review shows that a growing number of studies are focussing on the hybridization of universities, not only in terms of calculative practices (e.g. performance indicators) but also in relation to individual actors (e.g. academics and managers) who may have divergent values, and thus, act according to multiple logics (business and academic logics). It highlights many areas in which further robust academic research is needed to guide policy and practice developments in universities.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides academics, regulators and decision-makers with relevant insights into the critical issues of using calculative practices in academia. Despite the negative effects have been observed in various disciplines, there is an evident perpetuation in the use of those practices.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the ongoing debates on the disillusion of calculative practices in academia. Yet, positive changes can be achieved within the complex settings of “hybrid” universities when the apparent class division between academics and managers is bridged.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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