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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2017

Rense Nieuwenhuis, Ariana Need and Henk Van der Kolk

The purpose of this paper is to revisit the question whether women’s employment is negatively affected in countries with very long periods of childcare leave.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit the question whether women’s employment is negatively affected in countries with very long periods of childcare leave.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed data on 192,484 individual women, 305 country-years, and 18-countries, combined with country-level data on childcare, unemployment and service sector size.

Findings

The authors found that in countries with short periods of childcare leave the motherhood-employment gap is smaller than in countries with no childcare leave, while in countries with long periods of childcare leave the motherhood-employment gap is bigger than with short periods of leave.

Originality/value

The authors argued that to correctly answer the long-leave question – the relationship between duration of leave and employment of women should be explicitly hypothesized as being curvilinear; and childcare leave should be expected to affect only mothers, not women without children; testing the long-leave hypothesis requires the use of country-comparative data in which countries are observed repeatedly over time; and is best tested against person-level data.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Berend van der Kolk, Henk J. ter Bogt and Paula M.G. van Veen-Dirks

The purpose of this paper is to examine how management control (MC) within governmental departments is used in times of austerity, and how insights from agency and…

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1821

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how management control (MC) within governmental departments is used in times of austerity, and how insights from agency and stewardship theory can enhance the understanding of this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors distinguish two types of MC (constraining and facilitating) based on their different assumptions regarding human behavior (agent-like and steward-like). The authors empirically analyze changes in the use of these types of MC in four cases located in two municipalities. The collected data consists of 51 semi-structured interviews, desk research and multiple field observations.

Findings

The authors find that MC at the departmental level becomes more constraining in times of austerity. The authors suggest that an overemphasis on constraining MC has negative consequences. It can, for instance, evoke agent-like, opportunistic behavior while it disregards potential steward-like behavior. These negative consequences are less prevalent when there is a simultaneous increase in emphasis on the use of facilitating MC elements.

Originality/value

The authors acknowledge “human ambivalence,” i.e. an employee’s recurring choice between agent-like and steward-like behavior, and illustrate the dangers of overly relying on constraining types of MC. The authors also contemplate alternative strategic managerial responses to austerity in a public sector context.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2012

Martin Roders, Ad Straub and Henk Visscher

Climate change: the question is not anymore if it happens, but what the impact is of its effects such as drought, heat waves and increased precipitation on the quality of…

Abstract

Climate change: the question is not anymore if it happens, but what the impact is of its effects such as drought, heat waves and increased precipitation on the quality of our lives in cities, offices and houses. A significant share of the Northern European housing stock is owned and maintained by large stock owners, such as housing associations. It is their responsibility to be aware of changes and risks that might challenge the quality of life of their tenants. Moreover, in order to provide housing with a good market value in the future, adaptation to climate change can no longer be overlooked.

With the aim to discover the level of awareness of climate change adaptation among Dutch housing associations, a content analysis was undertaken on the policy plans and the annual reports of the 25 largest housing associations. Subsequently they were classified according to their level of awareness. The analysis returned no topics that directly referred to climate change adaptation, which implies that all housing associations are categorised as being ‘unaware’. Therefore, in order to reach higher levels of awareness and to incentivize the implementation of adaptation measures, appropriate governance strategies need to be developed. Future research will define the characteristics of these strategies in relation to the level of awareness of the housing associations. Adoption of the measures could be easier if adaptation measures are combined with maintenance activities, as this has been the case with mitigation measures.

Details

Open House International, vol. 37 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0168-2601

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Joris-Johann Lenssen, Nikolay A. Dentchev and Ludwig Roger

The purpose of this paper is to present a granulated governance perspective to face sustainability risks and challenges that our planet is facing. The authors argue that…

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3601

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a granulated governance perspective to face sustainability risks and challenges that our planet is facing. The authors argue that sustainability challenges should be addressed simultaneously at the individual, organizational, sectorial, national and supranational level. Financial institutions have a systemic impact on the economy, and on the functioning of our societies. Therefore, a culture of profit maximization and unbridled risk-taking, notwithstanding the external costs and impacts, contaminates not only the financial system and the economy, but also individual norms of responsibility. In this line of reasoning, the global financial crisis revealed the destabilizing effects on the economy, society and corporations and forms a serious impediment for sustainable business. This is a huge challenge for sustainability business and corporate governance; however, it is an illusion to think that managers can prevent scandals and moral norm deterioration without support from other social players.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper offers a conceptual analysis on the past financial crisis (2008-2012). It questions the focus on sustainability at the corporate level, and suggests a more comprehensive method for governance. The authors argue in favour of sustainability implementation, combining different governance levels.

Findings

The double-dip financial crisis 2008-2012 showed the failure of an unsustainable global system. It becomes clear that corporate responsibility and corporate governance are limited in their contribution to sustainable business in a sustainable economy. Hence, it is important to have a more integrated approach to address sustainability risks, with a solution at individual, sectorial, national and supranational governance levels.

Research limitations/implications

This contribution advances five different levels of governance to mitigate risks for sustainable business, arguing in favour of integrated governance for sustainability risks. However, an empirical validation of these ideas still needs to be developed. Future empirical research is needed to validate the five levels of governance. Future research is also needed to better grasp the mechanisms in support of governance.

Practical implications

Corporate responsibility and corporate governance are necessary but not sufficient conditions to address the sustainability risks one faces. All actors in the economy recognize that governance for sustainable business in a sustainable economy is a collaborative effort for which neither legislative nor institutional or behavioural norms are developed in an integrated way. They should also recognize that integrated governance is not only imperative for the common good, but also in the direct interest of shareholders and other stakeholders.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on corporate responsibility and corporate governance with the identification of specific roles for regulators, sector representatives and individuals, which are complementary to the role of the companies in creating the conditions for sustainable business in a sustainable economy.

Details

Corporate Governance, vol. 14 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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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).

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1288

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

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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2014

Henk J. ter Bogt and G. Jan van Helden

This paper aims to discuss the question of how the possible gaps between academic and practical accounting research can be reduced and how academics could make a…

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421

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss the question of how the possible gaps between academic and practical accounting research can be reduced and how academics could make a contribution to solving the practical problems of organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A reflection on Van de Ven and Johnson's ideas about “engaged scholarship” as a way for overcoming the gap between academic and practical knowledge creation, illustrated with examples coming from public sector accounting research.

Findings

Although academic consultant/researchers, who conduct research of direct relevance to practice, ideally must have research objectives in mind that go beyond the practical problems of the organization in order to address academically relevant goals, this is often not feasible. This is due to the fact that academically relevant research questions can often only be identified when a practice-oriented research project has already taken shape. The authors argue and illustrate that a pragmatic form of engaged scholarship in public sector accounting research implies that such research results in a variety of outputs. Some of the outputs will have direct relevance to the practitioners and others to the academics involved, whilst the outputs that are relevant to each of these two groups will only partly show connections and overlaps.

Practical implications

The preoccupation of academic researchers with publications in high-ranking journals, due to pressures from their universities and peer groups, threatens research projects with a potential relevance for practice, because their publication opportunities are uncertain in advance. The authors welcome researchers who want to take this type of risk, and the authors challenge university officials and journal editors to broaden their view on excellence in research beyond the scope of their traditional academic domains.

Originality/value

The paper offers a realistic way out of serving two seemingly different research goals, practice-relevance and academic rigour.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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