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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2019

Irvine Lapsley and Peter Miller

The purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluation of public sector research in the 1998–2018 period.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluation of public sector research in the 1998–2018 period.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses the extant literature of this era to study the theorisation of, and the findings of, public sector research.

Findings

This is a vibrant field of a study in a wide range of study settings and with many interdisciplinary studies. The influence of new public management is pervasive over this period. There are numerous instances of innovations in study settings, in key findings and the approach taken by investigators.

Research limitations/implications

This is not a comprehensive review of all literature in this period.

Practical implications

This study also explored the relevance of academic research of this era to policymaking by governments.

Originality/value

This paper offers a distinctive critique of theorisation of public sector accounting research. It reveals the dominant theoretical reference points in use during this period and observes the increasing tendency for theoretical pluralism to investigate complex study settings.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2018

Adriana Bruno and Irvine Lapsley

The purpose of this paper is to add to our understanding of the nature of accrual accounting by examining the process involved in its construction, as a dynamic and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to our understanding of the nature of accrual accounting by examining the process involved in its construction, as a dynamic and controversial process. This paper reveals how it is built and constantly modified, reinforced or negated during the process of implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper’s focus on a government initiative with multiple actors present in the laboratory. Specifically, this study offers a close examination of the day-to-day activities of a laboratory case study; it focuses on participant observation in video conference calls. The discussions held by the project teams are analyzed to extend our inquiry into the most intimate aspects of fact construction (Latour and Woolgar, 1979). These excerpts illustrate the processes of accrual accounting construction and open up the possibility of studying the emergence of accrual accounting through the lens of an action net.

Findings

The evidence collected reveals the absence of a well-defined template for implementing accrual accounting in government. These results reveal an elaborate process of improvisation and fabrication in the design of this accounting system and a fragile network in action.

Originality/value

Prior research on accrual accounting in government focuses on the examination of existing accrual accounting systems with somewhat puzzling results on lack of use. In this study, the perspective has been shifted from focusing on accrual accounting as self-evident (Lapsley et al., 2009) to examine its construction. This paper examines this tension between the apparent certainties as espoused by practitioners and the problematic nature of accrual accounting in government. It extends our knowledge of “black box accrual accounting,” and shows that it is a fluid object with significant discretion in the determination of practice.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Irvine Lapsley

The purpose of this paper is to study the pandemic from the perspective of the UK health-care system and risk management.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the pandemic from the perspective of the UK health-care system and risk management.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper follows a storytelling perspective. The author reflects on his experiences through the lens of research on health care and risk management.

Findings

The impact of the pandemic has been so massive that it has challenged the capacity of the UKs National Health Service. The political influences at work have not always promoted best practice in risk management and indicate blame-avoidance strategies by politicians.

Research limitations/implications

A single country experience of COVID-19.

Practical implications

There are major issues of asset management, of delays in decision-making, of supply chain problems and the need to reform processes of handling of crisis management.

Originality/value

This is an individual account of experiences of the pandemic.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

John Burns, Irvine Lapsley and Peter Miller

Abstract

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 March 2021

Bernd Helmig, Marc Jegers, Irvine Lapsley and Inger Johanne Pettersen

Abstract

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Michela Arnaboldi, Irvine Lapsley and Martina Dal Molin

This paper aims to examine the trajectory of public management reforms in Italy. This experience indicates the complexity of managerialism in countries with a legalistic…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the trajectory of public management reforms in Italy. This experience indicates the complexity of managerialism in countries with a legalistic system and where public administration cultures have been, and continue to be, embedded in politics.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis of managerial reforms in Italy was carried out with a documentary analysis. In addition to official reports and acts of parliament, the analysis was based on monitoring the government websites and innovative channels (e.g. Facebook) which communicated the progress of the later reforms.

Findings

The paper shows how modernization of public services has been a continuous priority in the agenda of the Italian Government across four phases: an early attempt in the late 1970s; a lively, phase for Italian managerial reforms in the 1990s; a later advocacy in the 2000s of a specific new public management (NPM) element – performance management; an after-crises reform aimed at reducing public expenditure.

Originality/value

The paper takes a historical and long-term perspective to analyse the success and failure of NPM reforms implementation in Italy. Differently from previous studies, this papers analyses NPM reforms in a longitudinal perspective, to show how the legalistic culture of Italy continues to affect the implementation of NPM reforms.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1997

This article has been withdrawn as it was published elsewhere and accidentally duplicated. The original article can be seen here: 10.1108/09513559410070551. When citing…

Abstract

This article has been withdrawn as it was published elsewhere and accidentally duplicated. The original article can be seen here: 10.1108/09513559410070551. When citing the article, please cite: Irvine Lapsley, (1994), “Market Mechanisms and the Management of Health Care: The UK Model and Experience”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 7 Iss: 6, pp. 15 - 25.

Details

Journal of Management in Medicine, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-9235

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Irvine Lapsley and Ana-María Ríos

– The purpose of this paper is an investigation of internal transparency in government budgeting.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is an investigation of internal transparency in government budgeting.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study which uses mixed methods – documentary analysis, some observation and elite interviews.

Findings

Politicians do not want transparency. Despite the way in which the idea of transparency in government is beyond open challenge, this study reveals the manner in which politicians can inhibit and limit transparency through political will and action.

Research limitations/implications

These findings raise serious challenges for policymakers who design government budgeting systems. They should raise concerns among other interested parties, including the media, the electorate and oversight bodies.

Practical implications

Are government budgets rigorously scrutinised? This evidence suggests not. This has major implications for accountants in government and for those who seek to use this information.

Social implications

This research needs to be extended beyond the case of a government body – the Scottish Parliament – which was designed for and committed to transparency in its activities. For those public service organisations which have no such commitment, is public accountability achievable?

Originality/value

This study uses a novel lens of three levels of transparency as devised by Biondi and Lapsley (2014). It focuses on an emergent field of internal transparency in government budgeting.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Irvine Lapsley and Rosie Oldfield

This paper seeks to explore the role of public sector accountants in the new millennium. Our contention is that the past (in terms of public sector reforms and…

Abstract

This paper seeks to explore the role of public sector accountants in the new millennium. Our contention is that the past (in terms of public sector reforms and ‘traditional’ accounting practices) will strongly influence the public sector accountant in the future. In order to illustrate this, we consider the key reforms which have taken place within the public sector over the last two decades, and the role of the accountant therein. We assess the extent to which these changes will continue to impact the accountant in the future. We also consider that the accountant is constrained by the past, in terms of the continuing dominance of certain accounting practices. The role of the accountant in the new millennium can therefore be seen in terms of both continuity and change.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 11 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Sandra Cohen, María-Dolores Guillamón, Irvine Lapsley and Geraldine Robbins

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the Eurozone financial crisis by discussing the experiences of Greece, Ireland and Spain. It particularly examines…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the Eurozone financial crisis by discussing the experiences of Greece, Ireland and Spain. It particularly examines the influence and actions of the Troika in the management of the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone.

Design/methodology/approach

The primary source of information for this study has been the documents of the Greek, Irish and Spanish Governments (often only available in their native language) and the reports of EU bodies and the IMF, supplemented by media coverage, as deemed appropriate. This has been analysed on a comparative basis to contrast the experiences of these three countries.

Findings

This study reveals how the Eurozone crisis has impacted on financially weak countries in this currency union. The fiscal conservatism of the Troika (the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank) has had profound consequences for these economies, which have experienced dramatic cuts in public services.

Research limitations/implications

This study has focused on the experiences of three countries in the Eurozone. There is a case for extending this analysis to other Eurozone countries.

Practical implications

There are two approaches to recession – governments can stimulate demand by infrastructure spending or take the financial conservatism route of reducing public expenditure and public sector borrowing. However, the severity of the crisis undermines the first approach and there are uncertain outcomes with the second approach. This paper shows the effects of adopting financial conservatism as a strategy in this crisis.

Social implications

The austerity programmes pursued by the governments in this study have led to unemployment, migration of skilled workers, collapse in property markets, failing banks and social unrest.

Originality/value

This study takes an accounting perspective on the Eurozone crisis. This offers a distinctive interpretation of events. This study examines the merits of widely used theories in studies of public sector change namely legitimation and resource dependency theory intertwined with power and offers insights into how meaningful they are in explaining the dramatic influence of austerity programmes in the Eurozone.

Details

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

Keywords

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