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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

Laura Maran, Warwick Funnell and Monia Castellini

The purpose of this paper is to understand the enduring, fundamental contributions of accounting practices in the pursuit of decentralization by governments, with an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the enduring, fundamental contributions of accounting practices in the pursuit of decentralization by governments, with an examination of Peter Leopold’s reform of the municipalities in the late eighteenth century in Italy.

Design/methodology/approach

An extensive textual analysis of the very comprehensive collection of primary sources of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany during the de’ Medici and Hapsburg-Lorraine’s rule identified the reasons for Peter Leopold’s decision to decentralize his government’s authority and responsibilities. A systemic comparison of the 1765–1766 and 1775–1776 financial reports of the Municipality of Castrocaro and Terra del Sole disclosed the importance of the micro-practices of accounting and reporting for the reform.

Findings

In the context of the eighteenth century enlightenment, Peter Leopold legitimized his reform by the introduction of a modern style of government based on the rationalization of the municipal administrative system and decentralization of central authority and responsibility. The reform was made feasible by the substitution of a birth right principle with an economic discourse which linked tax payments to property ownership. This had the unintended consequence of increased taxes, higher municipal expenditures and possible inequalities between municipalities.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the study are dependent on the resources which have survived and are now preserved in the official archives of Galeata and Florence. This work contributes to the extant literature on administrative reforms in a crucial period for the redefinition of sovereignty by the ruling classes, with the rise of the modern State. It extends historical understanding of the public sector with a focus on local government in the eighteenth century in a non-Anglo-Saxon context.

Practical implications

The examination of the reform of Peter Leopold contributes to an enhanced understanding of present-day decentralization by governments in the context of the new public management (NPM). It provides to NPM advocates a broader temporal and contextual understanding of the impact of current decentralization reforms.

Originality/value

Few accounting studies have considered the micro-aspects of decentralization reforms at the municipal level and tried to identify their impact on the wealth of the population. Moreover, Peter Leopold’s reform is considered one of the most innovative and enlightened of the eighteenth century, while the remainder of Europe was still overwhelmingly committed to the centralization of administrative apparatuses. Finally, this study relates to the multi-disciplinary debate about the recognition, qualification and accountization of the impact of decentralization of responsibility for the delivery of government services.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 April 2021

Laura Maran and Alan Lowe

This paper reports an investigation of a hybrid ex-state-owned enterprise (ex-SOE) providing ICT (Information and Communication Technology) services in the Italian…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reports an investigation of a hybrid ex-state-owned enterprise (ex-SOE) providing ICT (Information and Communication Technology) services in the Italian healthcare sector (in-house provision). The authors aim to offer a framing that reflects the concerns expressed in the interdisciplinary literature on hybrid SOEs from management, public administration and, more recently, accounting.

Design/methodology/approach

This study operationalizes Besharov and Smith’s (2014) theoretical model on multiple logics to analyze institutional structures and organizational outcomes at an ICT in-house provider. It builds on extensive textual analysis of regulatory, archival, survey and interview data.

Findings

The study results show that the combination of hybridity in the form of layering of multiple logics in the health care sector (Polzer et al., 2016) creates problems for the effectiveness of ICT provision. In particular, the hybrid organization the authors study remained stuck in established competing relationships despite a restructure of regional health care governance. The study findings also reflect on the design of organizational control mechanisms when balancing different logics.

Research limitations/implications

The identified case-study accountability practices and performance system add to the debate on hybrid organizations in the case of ex-SOEs and facilitate the understanding and management of hybrids in the public sector. The authors note policymaking implications.

Originality/value

The authors’ operationalization of Besharov and Smith's (2014) model adds clarity to key elements of their model, notably how to identify evidence in order to disentangle notions of centrality and compatibility. By doing this, the authors’ analysis offers potential insights into both managerial design and policy prescription. The authors provide cautionary tales around institutional reorganization regarding the layered synthesis of logics within these organizations.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 May 2008

Emidia Vagnoni and Laura Maran

The paper seeks to suggest an application of the benchmarking technique on the content evaluation of the health district activity plans (HDAPs).

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to suggest an application of the benchmarking technique on the content evaluation of the health district activity plans (HDAPs).

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review on benchmarking leads to the definition of a benchmarking process, which is utilized to evaluate and compare the contents of the HDAPs. These documents link the planning activity of the health districts of a region to the objectives comprehensively established at higher levels. Consequently, to define a common level of comparison of the HDAPs, the contents of the texts are evaluated through an in‐depth study of the specific law prescriptions and the adoption of an hermeneutic point of view. The HDAPs collected among the health districts of a single Italian Region represent the empirical data set and their specific benchmarking involves the definition of benchmark scales and placement of “best practices”.

Findings

Benchmarking can improve planning capabilities of the health districts pointing out their most positive differences. Its specific application on the HDAPs highlights its flexibility and usefulness; whilst at the same time, it opens new insights on the recent evolution of the health care systems towards accountability, cost consciousness and efficiency.

Practical implications

The results of the benchmarking comparison will lead to the design of an empirical blueprint for framing health district planning data and improve the understanding of the region.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the role of benchmarking both in providing a comprehensive lecture key of the reality of district planning and suggesting cues from the best practices observed.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2013

Enrico Bracci and Laura Maran

The present paper is aimed at arguing the fallacy of those political arguments when an economical evaluation of those advantages is implicated. The present analysis will…

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Abstract

Purpose

The present paper is aimed at arguing the fallacy of those political arguments when an economical evaluation of those advantages is implicated. The present analysis will unearth the partisan nature of the specific accounting rules and principles to fill up the Italian financial reporting in spite of any environmental sensitivity. The paper attempts to suggest a mediation through a comprehensive view on hegemonic discourses of environmental management and their counter‐evidences of accounting practices about environmental management.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion is pivoted on the counter‐evidences of the present management tools both at the level of financial reporting and analytical accounting.

Findings

The evidences stress the limits of the accounting regulation, since the categories of costs in the financial report scheme open a few possibilities to distinguish the environmental costs. Those considerations are an obstacle to the “internalization” of environmental externalities and they do not support the main issue of a pro‐active environmental system.

Originality/value

The present work shows the potential of accounting to make things visible and measurable and the will to take this opportunity to solve the urgency of the environmental problems. In so doing, the work contributes to the present debate on environmental management systems, through a detailed and in‐depth analysis of the accounting loci for environmental issues.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2022

Abstract

Details

Auditing Practices in Local Governments: An International Comparison
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-085-7

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2019

Laura MacLean and Ashraf M. Salama

With the majority of people living in cities it has become increasingly important to examine the relationship between the qualities and characteristics of an urban setting…

Abstract

With the majority of people living in cities it has become increasingly important to examine the relationship between the qualities and characteristics of an urban setting and the perceived satisfaction of its users. Discourses on Quality of Urban life (QOUL) show that the preponderance of existing empirical studies and measurement frameworks have been developed based on Western case studies or standards. Rapid urbanisation of cities in Africa and Asia, however, has dramatically impacted the use of space, and in many cases has resulted in intense urban transformations that impacted communities. This prompts questions about the quality of life (QOL) of residents and the liveability of their environments. Thus, this research argues that although there are many aspects of urban life that are pan-cultural, there are also culture specific features that make urban life unique in each city or setting. Consequently, QOUL studies should balance universal values and context-specificities. Following identification and critique of QOUL models, the paper calls for a new model to examine context specificities. The model aims to highlight the important role that context and culture play in urban life while underscoring the relevant core dimensions of QOUL studies.

Details

Open House International, vol. 44 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0168-2601

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 October 2019

Enrico Bracci, Mouhcine Tallaki and Monia Castellini

In accounting education studies, there is increasing interest in using teaching visual tools and contents. However, research about the pedagogical benefits of visual in…

Abstract

Purpose

In accounting education studies, there is increasing interest in using teaching visual tools and contents. However, research about the pedagogical benefits of visual in education is still limited. This paper aims to contribute to the debate by providing evidence on the extent to which the visual represents a relevant learning preference of accounting students.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopted the visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic questionnaire as a tested means to study the learning preferences of accounting students. The empirical study is based on a survey conducted with undergraduate and postgraduate accounting students.

Findings

The results show that visualization appears to be the less-relevant learning preference of students. This result is not in line with the emergent discussion in accounting education literature, which examines how visual tools can improve the presentation of accounting information. This opens the debate about the potential use of visual tools in teaching accounting. Besides, gender and origin of students (national vs international) appeared as relevant factors in explaining a greater visual learning preference.

Originality/value

This paper attempts to contribute to the accounting literature by providing evidence on the extent to which the visual represents the relevant learning preferences of accounting students. In addition, given that most of the literature on students’ learning preferences are based on Anglo-Saxon contexts, the authors provide evidence from a Latin country.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 April 2012

Latif Al‐Hakim and Xiao Yan Gong

Disruption considerably prolongs session times for surgery, affects the quality of patient care, and prolongs waiting lists. In addition, there is a strong relationship…

Abstract

Purpose

Disruption considerably prolongs session times for surgery, affects the quality of patient care, and prolongs waiting lists. In addition, there is a strong relationship between disruption and surgical error. This research aims to provide a platform for healthcare services to identify the sources of preventable disruption affecting operative time within the perioperative process and to effectively reduce it.

Design/methodology/approach

Events inside and outside operating rooms that disturb the operative time were recorded for 31 elective surgeries over the period of five months. Disruption events were classified according to the hospital's requirements and the findings were reviewed by the surgical teams. Lean thinking approaches were used to achieve the purpose of this study.

Findings

Preventable disruption caused an increase in surgical time of approximately 25 per cent. Preventable disruption consisted of poor information flow, failure to follow concepts of methods study, lack of communication and lack of coordination. Coordination failures were the main reason for disruption followed by the lack of following the principles of motion economy.

Originality/value

Surgical disruption has substantial financial implications for hospitals. This research indicates that it is possible to reduce operative time considerably by eliminating preventable disruption. Such additional time could be utilised to deal with the pressure of emergency cases, reduce the waiting lists for elective surgery, increase operating room utilisation, and reduce medical errors.

Details

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0952-6862

Keywords

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