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Article
Publication date: 20 October 2020

Daniela Argento, Katarina Kaarbøe and Jarmo Vakkuri

This paper provides a reflective comparison of the budgetary implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for three Nordic countries: Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides a reflective comparison of the budgetary implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for three Nordic countries: Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach

By drawing from the notion of ambiguity and constructions of certainty, this study analyzes the most relevant budgetary allocations and packages implemented by the governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden in response to the COVID-19 crisis using empirical documentary data.

Findings

Influenced by the need to save citizens' lives and protect the economy, the three countries have interpreted the COVID-19 threat in different ways. While Finland and Norway seem to be fighting a war against the virus, Sweden appears to view COVID-19 as an exceptionally difficult flu. These different perspectives are reflected in the strategies and budgetary responses implemented in the three countries.

Originality/value

By elaborating on the ambiguities of reality, causality and intentionality, this paper shows how the budgeting mindset aimed at creating certainties among citizens varies among the Nordic countries, which are generally assumed to be similar.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2020

Jarmo Vakkuri and Jan-Erik Johanson

This paper aims to analyse performance measurement ambiguities in hybrid universities. In accounting research, performance measurement of universities has been discussed…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse performance measurement ambiguities in hybrid universities. In accounting research, performance measurement of universities has been discussed in detail, and there is some research on impacts of hybridity in institutional systems. However, there is a particular need in accounting research for more sophisticated theorizations of the ambiguities associated with measuring performance in hybrid organizations. Moreover, there is a dearth of accounting-related interdisciplinary studies conceptualizing the hybridity of universities with important implications for measuring and reporting performance. This paper fills this research gap by providing more elaborate basis for conceptualizing performance measurement ambiguities through the lenses of hybrid universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors critically scrutinize the promise of performance measurement in hybrid universities and explore why it may result in new policy problems. Questions asked are as follows: How can we better understand those institutional mechanisms through which the promise of performance measurement may ultimately result in new forms of ambiguities and unexpected outcomes, and what are the specific characteristics of hybridity that make those mechanisms possible in universities?

Findings

The authors propose a conceptual model for studying universities in hybrid performance settings. The model provides a new inter-disciplinary approach for conceptualizing performance measurement ambiguities in universities when they are influenced by hybridity, hybrid arrangements and hybrid governance.

Originality/value

This paper provides more elaborate basis for understanding hybridity of universities, not only through reforms for combining business, government and collegial professional logics (e.g. corporatization, marketization) or through new hybrid mixes of professions but also as a more comprehensive, inter-disciplinary understanding of institutional structures, logics and practices at modern universities.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 20 December 2019

Alpo Karila, Jarmo Vakkuri and Juhani Lehto

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the dynamics of budgetary biasing in the context of public hospitals.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the dynamics of budgetary biasing in the context of public hospitals.

Design/methodology/approach

The study applies theories of accounting and budgeting behaviors in the specific institutional context of health care systems. Based on the theoretical framework, data from interviews with hospital budget officers were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings

A typology of biases is provided. It proved to be useful and highlighted the central empirical assumptions and preliminary results of biasing dynamics.

Practical implications

Understanding the logic of budgeting actors and the drivers of bias may help explain why bias so often appears in health care budgeting. It further contributes to understanding whether the bias is functional or dysfunctional.

Originality/value

The concepts of budgetary bias are rarely used in the context of health care budgeting, so the study fills a gap in research knowledge.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Jarmo Vakkuri and Pentti Meklin

The paper examines the performance measurement (PM) of knowledge organizations as problems of search (design mode) and application (use mode). The argumentation of the…

Abstract

The paper examines the performance measurement (PM) of knowledge organizations as problems of search (design mode) and application (use mode). The argumentation of the paper focuses on university organizations as a case of illustration in examining limitations in PM systems, culturally shaped assumptions for designing and using PM systems and unintended consequences of using performance measurement information. The paper presents a conceptual model created to demonstrate the relationship between the cultural features of a knowledge‐intensive organizational context, the ambiguities in the objectives of PM systems and the behavioral consequences of performance measurement. It is argued that PM systems in universities are seen as structures of attention rather than formal systems of accountability. Consequently, given the cultural background, universities tend to diminish the significance of PM systems by practising game rationalities and politics of representation.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 41 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Anna-Aurora Kork and Jarmo Vakkuri

Poor access to healthcare and increasing demand for services represent a management dilemma how to balance between needs and costs. Scrutinising the concept of demand…

Abstract

Purpose

Poor access to healthcare and increasing demand for services represent a management dilemma how to balance between needs and costs. Scrutinising the concept of demand management and using a case study from Finnish primary care, the purpose of this paper is to examine the complexities of managing demand for health services.

Design/methodology/approach

Convenience has explained the popularity of walk-in clinics (WIC), making it an attractive demand management tool. By analysing the quantitative service utilisation data of frequent attenders at WIC, the paper exemplifies what enhanced access to care means for demand management of public welfare services.

Findings

High user rates and satisfaction indicate demand for this type of service; however, the establishment of WIC provided supplementary care for the high users of health services, most suffering chronic diseases.

Research limitations/implications

Better understanding of the structure of service demand is needed in order to develop a more coordinated service system and to manage demand for public welfare services.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates the importance of identifying service utilisation patterns in managing demand. Instead of single solutions, a wider system-level perspective is essential.

Originality/value

Managing demand and facilitating access are core primary care attributes but there is little evidence about the impact of demand management strategies. The paper ties together important healthcare management issues: how to control demand and improve the access? Moreover, few studies have examined the frequent attendance at WIC. This paper presents a practical illustration of demand management tool and indicates some demand management problems to be considered in healthcare management.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 13 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

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Mike Bourne

Presents a number of papers from the Performance Measurement Association conference held in July 2002. Reveals that all the papers investigate developments in the field of…

Abstract

Presents a number of papers from the Performance Measurement Association conference held in July 2002. Reveals that all the papers investigate developments in the field of performance measurement and management since the Kaplan and Norton Balanced Scorecard was first introduced.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 41 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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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

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2019

Daniela Argento, Giuseppe Grossi, Aki Jääskeläinen, Stefania Servalli and Petri Suomala

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of performance measurement systems as technologies of government in the operationalisation of smart city programmes. It…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of performance measurement systems as technologies of government in the operationalisation of smart city programmes. It answers the research question: how do the development and use of performance measurement systems support smart cities in the achievement of their goals?

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a longitudinal case study that uses an interventionist approach to investigate the possibilities and limitations of the use of performance measurement systems as technologies of government in a smart city. Interpretations are theoretically informed by the Foucauldian governmentality framework (Foucault, 2009) and by public sector performance measurement literature.

Findings

The findings address the benefits and criticalities confronting a smart city that introduces new performance measurement systems as a technology of government. Such technologies become problematic tools when the city network is characterised by a fragmentation of inter-departmental processes, and when forms of resistance emerge due to a lack of process owners, horizontal accountability and cooperation among involved parties.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is based on a case study of a single smart city, and outlines the need for both comparative and multidisciplinary analyses in order to analyse the causes and effects of smart city challenges.

Originality/value

This paper offers a critical understanding of the role of accounting in the smart city. The ineffectiveness of performance measurement systems is related to the multiple roles of such technologies of government, which may lead to a temporary paralysis in the achievement of smart city goals and programmes.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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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