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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2018

Jan van Helden and Christoph Reichard

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether and how evolving ideas about management control (MC) emerge in research about public sector performance management (PSPM).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether and how evolving ideas about management control (MC) emerge in research about public sector performance management (PSPM).

Design/methodology/approach

This is a literature review on PSPM research through using a set of key terms derived from a review of recent developments in MC.

Findings

MC research, originating in the management accounting discipline, is largely disconnected from PSPM research as part of public administration and public management disciplines. Overlaps between MC and PSPM research are visible in a cybernetic control approach, control variety and contingency-based reasoning. Both academic communities share an understanding of certain issues, although under diverging labels, especially enabling controls or, in a more general sense, usable performance controls, horizontal controls and control packaging. Specific MC concepts are valuable for future PSPM research, i.e. trust as a complement of performance-based controls in complex settings, and strategy as a variable in contingency-based studies.

Research limitations/implications

Breaking the boundaries between two currently remote research disciplines, on the one hand, might dismantle “would-be” innovations in one of these disciplines, and, on the other hand, may provide a fertile soil for mutual transfer of knowledge. A limitation of the authors’ review of PSPM research is that it may insufficiently cover research published in the public sector accounting journals, which could be an outlet for MC-inspired PSPM research.

Originality/value

The paper unravels the “apparent” and “real” differences between MC and PSPM research, and, in doing so, takes the detected “real” differences as a starting point for discussing in what ways PSPM research can benefit from MC achievements.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 November 2019

Jan van Helden and Christoph Reichard

The purpose of this paper is to dismantle the complex issue of “use of accounting information (AI)” by pointing to different groups of information users, diverging…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to dismantle the complex issue of “use of accounting information (AI)” by pointing to different groups of information users, diverging interests and needs of these user groups and various influential factors on the usability and the actual use of AI.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper includes a literature review and conceptual reflections.

Findings

The review of recently published articles on the issue of “use of accounting information” presents an actual picture of the academic debate on purposes of use, user types, needs of various user groups and factors influencing the usability and the actual use of AI. The subsequent conceptual reflections deal with so far less regarded user groups, with options to strengthen the user perspective in budgeting and financial reporting, with approaches for engaging users in the content of accounting documents, with interrelations between user needs, usability and use intensity, including various antecedents of the different variables of the information-use issue.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents promising routes for future research.

Practical implications

The paper emphasizes the importance of paying more attention to the specific information needs and the motivations of various stakeholder groups generally interested in using financial information.

Originality/value

The paper presents results of reviewing recent literature on the issue of “use of accounting information” and provides some insight into specific aspects of this issue.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2020

Tobias Polzer and Christoph Reichard

The European Commission is pursuing an initiative to establish European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) as a common mandatory set of rules for financial…

Abstract

Purpose

The European Commission is pursuing an initiative to establish European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) as a common mandatory set of rules for financial reporting of all member states of the European Union (EU). As a basis for developing EPSAS, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are being used. The purpose of this paper is to structure and analyze the discussion around EPSAS, with particular emphasis on the arguments that were brought forward by governments and other stakeholders of various EU countries regarding the suitability of IPSAS.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on several schools of thought in new institutional theory, how the prevailing institutional contexts in countries influence the debates is explored. Empirically, this research investigates the responses to a consultation on the suitability of IPSAS for EU member states and takes a closer look, via document analysis, at France and Germany as two critical cases.

Findings

It is found that, first, the majority of arguments from respondents are framed in a rational choice way. Second, skeptics of IPSAS tend to make arguments rather from positions closer to historical and/or sociological institutionalism.

Research limitations/implications

The paper illustrates that while technical matters around EPSAS seem solvable, political, historical and cultural differences go deeper, and need to be addressed by change agents. Regarding limitations of the research, first, the analysis concentrates on financial reporting and does not deal with the implications for more reliable and comparable national accounts in the context of the European System of Accounts (ESA, 2010). Second, it is focused on debates in the context of the EPSAS proposal, and there is a need for an evaluation after the changes have gone live.

Originality/value

The study looks at a text genre that has so far received less attention in public sector accounting research: responses to consultations. The paper contributes to the literature by showing how institutional contexts matter in settings characterized by contestation of reform contents.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2016

Jan van Helden and Christoph Reichard

An examination of the commonalities and differences between performance management practices in the public and private sector.

Abstract

Purpose

An examination of the commonalities and differences between performance management practices in the public and private sector.

Methodology/approach

A literature review of 100 publications in international academic journals over the last 20 years.

Findings

The chapter develops a framework which links the dimensions of the public/private-distinction (ownership, funding, control and type of goals) to the design and use of performance management systems (PMS). This framework subsequently informs a literature review, which can be summarised as follows: Multi-dimensionality of the PMS is core in both public and private sector organisations, but quite many private sector papers point to a financial focus at the top of the PMS, while public sector organisations show a broad variety of performance indicators, including those on societally relevant goals. In addition, a link between the PMS and strategies can be found in the public and the private sector, but the match between different strategies and PMS design is more elaborated in the private sector. These findings are largely in accordance with our expectations. The review also finds support for the assumption that performance information in public sector organisations is primarily used for external accountability reasons, while internal managerial control is the main purpose in private firms. The use of performance information is quite intensive and mostly functional in both sectors, which does not meet our expectations. Overall, the differences between performance management practices in the public and private sector are less stringent than expected.

Research limitations

Due to limited evidence about the importance of performance-related pay systems and no evidence about targeting in both sectors, a more focused literature review on these issues would be desirable.

Practical implications

Mutual learning between both sectors, for example the public sector can learn from the private sector on how to link strategy to the PMS and the private sector can learn from the public sector about serving a multitude of stakeholders in the PMS.

Originality/value

A comprehensive review of performance management practices in the public and private sector.

Details

Performance Measurement and Management Control: Contemporary Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-915-2

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2016

Abstract

Details

Performance Measurement and Management Control: Contemporary Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-915-2

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Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Edoardo Ongaro

This paper aims to outline the contents of the special issue on public management reform in countries in the Napoleonic administrative tradition, discussing alternative…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to outline the contents of the special issue on public management reform in countries in the Napoleonic administrative tradition, discussing alternative explanatory frameworks, and proposing paths for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

This article provides reviews of the papers in the special issue.

Findings

Some broad sets of factor affecting implementation of public management reform in Napoleonic countries are outlined, schematised in a specific table, and discussed in the light of potential alternative frameworks, like cultural analysis.

Research limitations/implications

Research limitations include the availability of empirical evidence given the width of the phenomenon under investigation (public management reform in five countries). Implications for the development of a broader comparative research agenda on countries in the Napoleonic administrative tradition (and others) are proposed.

Originality/value

The special issue, of which this paper provides an overview, fills a gap in the literature by providing systematic and comparative analysis of public management reform in five under‐investigated countries in the Napoleonic administrative tradition, arguably an important contribution to the widening of the comparative research agenda in public management.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2015

Giuseppe Grossi, Ulf Papenfuß and Marie-Soleil Tremblay

– The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue and outline its major themes and challenges, their relevance and the research opportunities the field presents.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue and outline its major themes and challenges, their relevance and the research opportunities the field presents.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews prior literature and outline’s the need to analyse challenges for corporate governance and accountability of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as a precursor to introducing the contributions to this special issue.

Findings

Corporate governance, accounting and accountability of SOEs are crucial and growing topics in public management and other research disciplines. Public service provision and budget consolidation cannot be realized effectively and efficiently without powerful governance and management of SOEs. However there are significant corporate governance challenges and important empirical research gaps in comparison to other fields. Broader theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, accountability mechanisms and sector/context are identified and discussed and encouraged in future research.

Research limitations/implications

This paper aims to stimulate interdisciplinary research on emerging issues affecting governance and accountability of SOEs considering their growing importance in the society and their changing nature.

Practical implications

Effective mechanisms and good practices may contribute to better performance of SOEs. Findings may help politicians, administrations, board members, auditors, consultants, scholars and the media striving for improvements around the world.

Originality/value

The paper condenses theoretical and empirical findings to highlight the relevance of this field and important research gaps. The special issue offers an empirical examination of interdisciplinary literature and innovative experiences of SOEs to strengthen public service motivation, board composition and roles, trust and control, transparency, public value and to enhance the ability to manage, steer and monitor contracts, performance and relationships.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 28 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2014

Giuseppe Grossi and Ileana Steccolini

– The purpose of this viewpoint paper is to introduce the special issue and outline its major themes.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this viewpoint paper is to introduce the special issue and outline its major themes.

Design/methodology/approach

The public governance literature is described, and the necessity for analysing challenges for accountability and accounting in the public sector is elaborated upon, as a precursor to introducing the contributions to this special issue.

Findings

The public governance turn in public management and policy studies has often meant that accounting and accountability issues have been overlooked. This special issue reminds us that they are central in public governance and networks, and that accounting cannot be dismissed as only a “technical” issue since it is central in power relationships, building trust, ensuring transparency and improving decision making for both internal and external stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

This special issue of Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management aims to stimulate qualitative research on how accounting and accountability are being shaped by the new public governance paradigm and, in turn, contribute to shaping it.

Practical implications

The articles included in this special issue focus on reforms and innovations that have been adopted based on the assumption that improving mechanisms of public governance and accountability will result in better public sector performance. The different aspects of governance and accounting changes will also be of interest to politicians, managers, citizens, and those who seek accountability from public sector organisations.

Originality/value

The paper offers a systematic empirical examination of the innovative experiences of different governments to strengthen transparency, openness and participation, and to enhance the capacity to manage, steer and monitor contracts, partnerships and relationships with private and public sector entities.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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