Search results

1 – 10 of 13
To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Enrico Guarini, Francesca Magli and Andrea Francesconi

The purpose of this study is to analyse how academic staff cope with the new culture of performance measurement and assessment in universities. In particular, the study…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to analyse how academic staff cope with the new culture of performance measurement and assessment in universities. In particular, the study aims to shed light on how external pressures related to measurement of research performance are translated into organisational and individual academic responses within the university and the extent to which these responses are related specifically to the operational features of performance measurement systems (PMS).

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a case study conducted in an Italian public university and based on interviews with a cross-disciplinary sample of faculty members.

Findings

The study provides insights into how linking financial incentives and career progression to research performance metrics at the system and organisational levels may have important reorientation effects on individual behaviours and epistemic consequences for the academic work.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on interviews, so one limitation is related to the risk of researcher and interviewee personal bias. Moreover, this study is focused on one single case of a specific university setting, which cannot be fully representative of the experiences of others.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the literature on management accounting by exploring the factors that might explain why the unintended effects of PMS on academics’ behaviour reported by several studies might occur. From a practitioner’s point of view, it shows features of PMS that may produce unintended effects on academic activities. It also highlights the need to rethink PMS for the evaluation of university performance through the involvement of different stakeholders.

Details

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

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Carmela Barbera, Enrico Guarini and Ileana Steccolini

Studies on how accounting is involved in financial crises and austerity are limited. The context of austerity provides an interesting opportunity to explore the role of…

Abstract

Purpose

Studies on how accounting is involved in financial crises and austerity are limited. The context of austerity provides an interesting opportunity to explore the role of accounting in shaping governmental financial resilience, i.e. the capacity of governments to cope with shocks affecting their financial conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a multiple case analysis of eight Italian municipalities, this paper explores how accounting contributes to the government capacities which are used to anticipate and respond to shocks affecting public finances.

Findings

Municipalities cope with financial shocks differently; accounting can support self–regulation and can affect internally-led or externally-led adaptation. Different combinations of anticipatory and coping capacities lead to different responses to shocks.

Practical implications

The findings can be useful for public managers, policymakers and oversight bodies for strengthening governmental financial resilience in the face of crises and austerity.

Originality/value

The results provide evidence of the conditions, contexts, processes under which accounting becomes a medium which can support both anticipation of and coping with financial shocks, supporting cuts in some cases and resistance in the short run or driving long-term changes intended to maintain public services as much intact as possible. This highlights the existence of different patterns of governmental financial resilience and thus indicates ways of best preserving the service of the public interest.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part

Enrico Guarini, Anna De Toni and Cinzia Vallone

This study attempts to analyze the role of governance mechanisms in municipal bankruptcy, which appears to be a neglected area of research. The analysis considers both the…

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to analyze the role of governance mechanisms in municipal bankruptcy, which appears to be a neglected area of research. The analysis considers both the organizational level (micro) and the regulatory system (macro).

Methodology/approach

We use a relevant case of municipal bankruptcy in Italy to discuss the influence of governance characteristics, such as the political and management structure, interaction, and behaviors. The issues related to the accounting system and external audits are also considered. The data for this study are obtained from secondary sources such as audited budgetary reports, public documents, and reports from the Supreme Audit Institution.

Findings

The study indicates that the spoils system can favor the politicians’ exercise of power over public managers and undermine the capacity to prevent and manage financial distress. Poor accounting and weak control systems may facilitate this process. The high turnover of top management throughout a mayor’s term in office may reflect political pressure to force accounting rules and achieve flexibility to obtain the expected results or to correct poor financial performance.

Practical implications

To avert municipal bankruptcies, regulations should consider enforcing ex ante control by external oversight bodies, forbidding risky operations and limiting the spoils system for financial management positions and internal auditors.

Originality/value

Municipal defaults around the world have indicated that regulations and audits are ineffective to prevent local governments from failing. A full understanding of complex mutual interactions between the mechanisms of governance and the behaviors of politicians and managers can provide valuable insights to prevent local governments from failing.

Details

Contingency, Behavioural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Public and Nonprofit Governance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-429-4

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part

Enrico Guarini

In recent years, public management research has been focused at the public value paradigm. However, many discussions on this topic are motivated at least as much by theory…

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, public management research has been focused at the public value paradigm. However, many discussions on this topic are motivated at least as much by theory as by evidence. We do not yet have a comprehensive empirical understanding of what happens when the public value paradigm is translated into practice within organizations. An important theoretical question is how to match the public value approach and measurement to specific contexts. Understanding barriers to effective implementation and identifying what might be done to overcome obstacles are interesting issues for advancing theory and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

By deploying and testing the same approach and method of measuring public value in two local governments, this article aims to shed light on barriers to implementing the public value paradigm in practice.

Findings

The study’s findings show little evidence to support claims for a paradigmatic shift towards the public value paradigm in the Italian case.

Practical implications

Managerial implications of public value measurement are also taken into consideration.

Originality/value

We know little about what conditions drive individual governments towards the adoption of a public value approach and measurement. Undoubtedly, this issue has huge practical relevance when introducing public value discourses in bureaucratic governmental settings.

Details

Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-011-7

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

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

To view the access options for this content please click here

Abstract

Details

Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-011-7

To view the access options for this content please click here

Abstract

Details

Contingency, Behavioural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Public and Nonprofit Governance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-429-4

To view the access options for this content please click here

Abstract

Details

Contingency, Behavioural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Public and Nonprofit Governance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-429-4

Content available
Article

Ileana Steccolini

The purpose of this paper is to reflect various pathways for public sector accounting and accountability research in a post-new public management (NPM) context.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect various pathways for public sector accounting and accountability research in a post-new public management (NPM) context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper first discusses the relationship between NPM and public sector accounting research. It then explores the possible stimuli that inter-disciplinary accounting scholars may derive from recent public administration studies, public policy and societal trends, highlighting possible ways to extend public sector accounting research and strengthen dialogue with other disciplines.

Findings

NPM may have represented a golden age, but also a “golden cage,” for the development of public sector accounting research. The paper reflects possible ways out of this golden cage, discussing future avenues for public sector accounting research. In doing so, it highlights the opportunities offered by re-considering the “public” side of accounting research and shifting the attention from the public sector, seen as a context for public sector accounting research, to publicness, as a concept central to such research.

Originality/value

The paper calls for stronger engagement with contemporary developments in public administration and policy. This could be achieved by looking at how public sector accounting accounts for, but also impacts on, issues of wider societal relevance, such as co-production and hybridization of public services, austerity, crises and wicked problems, the creation and maintenance of public value and democratic participation.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Enrico Bracci, Luca Papi, Michele Bigoni, Enrico Deidda Gagliardo and Hans-Jürgen Bruns

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role and impact of accounting within the fragmented field of public value theory literature.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role and impact of accounting within the fragmented field of public value theory literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The work develops a structured literature review (SLR) and seeks to shed light on the state of public value research, with particular emphasis on the role of accounting scholarship.

Findings

The lack of empirical research and the limited number of accounting papers reveal how accounting scholars need to achieve a deeper understanding of the public value conceptualization, creation and measurement process.

Originality/value

The paper develops the first wide-ranging SLR on public value accounting. It is a starting point to develop new research avenues, both in the fields of accountability/external reporting, and management accounting and performance management.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

1 – 10 of 13