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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2021

Sven Modell

This paper reviews and reflects on institutional research on performance measurement and management (PMM) in the public sector emerging over the past decade and discusses…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reviews and reflects on institutional research on performance measurement and management (PMM) in the public sector emerging over the past decade and discusses potential extensions of this body of research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a reflective review with an emphasis on how institutional theory has been used in PMM research in the public sector.

Findings

Although institutional research on PMM in the public sector has continued to grow over the past decade, much of this research still pays relatively one-sided attention to the influence of pre-existing institutions on PMM practices and has left the constitutive effects of such practices under-researched. In order to address this shortcoming and nurture research that pays more equal attention to the institutional effects on and of PMM practices, a research agenda based on dialogue with the sociology of valuation and valuation studies is outlined. Such research is arguably well-suited for examining emerging themes in the public sector accounting and management literatures centred on the publicness of public service provision and notions of organisational hybridity.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers a starting point for research that can provide a more holistic and dynamic perspective on how PMM practices are implicated in the shaping of institutional fields over time.

Originality/value

The paper continues to advance an established research agenda in the public sector accounting and management literatures whilst suggesting ways of extending this research agenda.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 March 2020

Sven Modell

This is a reply to the commentaries by Baxter and Chua (2020) and Andrew and Baker (2020) on a paper previously published in this journal.

Abstract

Purpose

This is a reply to the commentaries by Baxter and Chua (2020) and Andrew and Baker (2020) on a paper previously published in this journal.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual discussion that further clarifies the differences between critical realism (CR), actor–network theory (ANT) and traditional Marxist thought as a basis for critical accounting research.

Findings

The relative merits of CR as a basis for critical accounting research are further elucidated in the light of the criticisms raised in the commentaries. In particular, the discussion of its role as a counterweight to the legacy of empiricism that hampers the possibilities of advancing radical social critique and emancipation is further developed.

Research limitations/implications

The paper clarifies what CR can and cannot do for the critical accounting project and how it may be further developed as a vehicle for emancipation.

Originality/value

The paper extends the debate about what critical accounting research is and could be.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 July 2023

Sven Modell

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how critical realism can be mobilised as a meta-theory, or philosophical under-labourer, for research on space accounting and how this…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how critical realism can be mobilised as a meta-theory, or philosophical under-labourer, for research on space accounting and how this may further inquiries into the known as well as the unknown implications of space exploration and commercialisation.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper that applies critical realism to the field of space accounting using cost management in space contracts as an illustrative example.

Findings

Adopting a naturalised version of critical realism that recognises the complex interplay between natural and social realities, the author nuances the distinction between intransitive and transitive objects of knowledge and advances a framework that may be used as a starting point for a transfactual mode of reasoning. The author then applies this mode of reasoning to the topic of cost management in the space sector and illustrates how it may enhance our insights into what causes cost overruns in space contracts.

Research limitations/implications

By adopting a naturalised version of critical realism, the author establishes a philosophical framework that can support the broadly based, inter-disciplinary research agenda that has been envisaged for research on space accounting and possibly inform policy development.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to apply a critical realist perspective to space accounting and lays a philosophical foundation for future research on the topic.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 4 July 2022

Kari Lukka, Sven Modell and Eija Vinnari

This paper examines the influence of the normal science tradition, epitomized by the notion that “theory is king”, on contemporary accounting research and the epistemological…

2593

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the influence of the normal science tradition, epitomized by the notion that “theory is king”, on contemporary accounting research and the epistemological tensions that may emerge as this idea is applied to particular ways of studying accounting. For illustrative purposes, the authors focus on research informed by actor-network theory (ANT) which can be seen as an “extreme case” in the sense that it is, in principle, difficult to reconcile with the normal science aspirations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper offers an analysis based on a close reading of how accounting scholars, using ANT, theorize, and if they do engage in explicit theorizing, how they deal with the tensions that might emerge from the need to reconcile its epistemological underpinnings with those of the normal science tradition.

Findings

The findings of this paper show that the tensions between normal science thinking and the epistemological principles of ANT have, in a few cases, been avoided, as researchers stay relatively faithful to ANT and largely refrain from further theory development. However, in most cases, the tensions have ostensibly been ignored as researchers blend the epistemology of ANT and that of normal science without reflecting on the implications of doing so.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to emerging debates on the role of the normal science tradition in contemporary accounting research, and also extends recent discussions on the role of theory in accounting research inspired by ANT. The paper proposes three reasons for the observed blending of epistemologies: unawareness of tensions, epistemological eclecticism and various political considerations.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

Max Baker and Sven Modell

The purpose of this paper is to advance a critical realist perspective on performativity and use it to examine how novel conceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) have…

2750

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance a critical realist perspective on performativity and use it to examine how novel conceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) have performative effects.

Design/methodology/approach

To illustrate how the authors’ critical realist understanding of performativity can play out, the authors offer a field study of an Australian packaging company and engage in retroductive and retrodictive theorising.

Findings

In contrast to most prior accounting research, the authors advance a structuralist understanding of performativity that pays more systematic attention to the causal relationships that underpin performative tendencies. The authors explain how such tendencies are conditioned by pre-existing, social structures, conceptualised in terms of multiple, intersecting norm circles. The authors illustrate their argument empirically by showing how specific conceptions of CSR, centred on the notion of “shared value”, were cemented by the interplay between the causal powers embedded in such norm circles and how this suppressed alternative conceptions of this phenomenon.

Research limitations/implications

The findings draw attention to the structural boundary conditions under which particular conceptions of CSR can be expected to become performative. Greater attention to such boundary conditions, denoting the social structures that reinforce and counteract performative tendencies, is required to further cumulative, yet context-sensitive, theory development on this topic.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to adopt a critical realist perspective on performativity in the accounting literature. This perspective strikes a middle path between the highly constructivist ontology, adopted in most accounting research concerned with performativity and realist criticisms of this ontological position for de-emphasising the influence of pre-existing, objective realities on performativity.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Sven Modell

The purpose of this paper is to contrast actor-network theory (ANT) and critical realism (CR) as two contemporary approaches to critical accounting research and advance a critique…

1430

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contrast actor-network theory (ANT) and critical realism (CR) as two contemporary approaches to critical accounting research and advance a critique centred on the neglect of social structures in the former perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper based on a critical reading of ANT inspired by CR.

Findings

Although the author does not question the ability of ANT to be imbued with critical intent per se, the author is critical of its tendency to downplay the significance of pre-existing, social structures and the concomitant neglect of enduring and ubiquitous states of structural stability as an ontological possibility. This may lead to an overly optimistic view that naively valorises agency as a largely unfettered engine of emancipation. By contrast, CR offers a deeper and more nuanced ontological conception of how social structures constrain as well as enable emancipation. In contrast to the highly empiricist epistemology of ANT, it also provides an epistemological rationale for going beyond empirical descriptions of how social structures work to advance theoretically informed, explanatory critiques that are better suited for realising less easily observable opportunities for emancipation.

Research limitations/implications

The paper advances the debate about how social structures should be examined in critical accounting research and the relative merits of doing so in advancing emancipatory projects.

Originality/value

The paper is an attempt to contrast ANT and CR as two distinct approaches to critical accounting research and thus extends the debate about what such research is and could be.

Details

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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 31 May 2022

Jarmo Vakkuri

This paper reflects on Sven Modell's (2022) study discussing uses of institutional theorising for studying performance measurement and management (PMM) in the public sector…

1024

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reflects on Sven Modell's (2022) study discussing uses of institutional theorising for studying performance measurement and management (PMM) in the public sector context. The paper provides arguments for critically analysing the assumptions and characteristics of PMM research.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the paper addresses PMM as a field of research linking scientific disciplines, schools of thought and academic scholars. Second, the paper discusses the role of institutional theorising in PMM research. Third, the paper analyses and reviews Modell's ideas on the future prospects of PMM research. The paper also elaborates on the ideas presented in Modell's paper.

Findings

Modell's paper suggests sociology of valuation and the discussion on hybrid governance as future developments for PMM research. This paper provides a conceptual perspective to link these areas together. Furthermore, the paper contributes to understanding PMM as a multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research area.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the conceptualizations of values, valuation and hybridity in PMM research from the viewpoint of institutional theory.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 August 2023

Bernard Leca and Aziza Laguecir

In his 2022 paper, in the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, Sven Modell reviews and reflects on the public sector's institutional research dealing…

Abstract

Purpose

In his 2022 paper, in the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, Sven Modell reviews and reflects on the public sector's institutional research dealing with performance measurement and management (PMM) over the past decade. Modell suggests potential extensions of this body of research. This paper seeks to contribute to the path that Modell initiated. It offers directions in which institutional theory might contribute further to research on agentic aspects of PMM in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a rejoinder emphasizing how institutional theory could further nurture reflection on PMM research in the public sector. The authors draw upon Modell's article and ongoing research in the institutional theory field.

Findings

Modell insists that institutional research on PMM in the public sector should explore the constitutive effects of PMM practices while conceiving such practices as institutionally embedded phenomena. The authors seek to extend this approach by considering the role of agency in institutional processes. To do this, the authors build on recent institutional research on agency, discussing how those new conceptualizations could nurture and develop the understanding of PMM practices in the public sector. The authors further discuss implications for coupling and decoupling as sites of agency. Such literature is relevant for examining emerging themes in public-sector accounting because it allows the authors to better conceptualize the underlying mechanisms of agency in the context of public service provision characterized by institutional complexity.

Originality/value

This paper details several implications of the current developments in new institutional theory in examining agency in the relationship between institutions and PMM, pointing at the case of decoupling. In so doing, the authors seek to stimulate a constructive exchange between public-sector accounting and a broader institutionalist body of research and suggest ways of extending the PMM research agenda.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 35 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2010

Sven Blank and Jonas Dovern

The paper is to understand how the financial system is influenced by macroeconomic shocks and how the financial stance, in turn, feeds back into the macroeconomic environment is…

1230

Abstract

Purpose

The paper is to understand how the financial system is influenced by macroeconomic shocks and how the financial stance, in turn, feeds back into the macroeconomic environment is key for policy makers. The most recent financial crisis has demonstrated the need for a deeper understanding of these interdependencies. The purpose of this paper is to analyze what macroeconomic shocks affect the soundness of the German banking system.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a micro‐macro stress‐testing framework for the German banking system in which macroeconomic and bank‐specific data are used to identify the effects of various shocks in a structural vector autoregressive model, which includes main macroeconomic variables and an indicator of stress in the banking system. To this end, the sign‐restriction approach is applied.

Findings

First, it is found that there is a close link between macroeconomic developments and the stance of the banking sector. Second, monetary policy shocks are the most influential shocks for distress in the banking sector. Third, fiscal policy shocks and real estate price shocks have a significant impact on the distress indicator, while evidence is mixed for the exchange rate. Fourth, for the identification of most shocks it is essential to work in the integrated model that combines the micro‐ and the macro‐sphere.

Originality/value

The paper analyzes various shock scenarios in an integrated micro‐macro framework that takes the mutual relationship between the financial stance and the macroeconomic environment into account.

Details

Journal of Financial Economic Policy, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-6385

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Sven Modell and Christopher Humphrey

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the motivation for this special issue and its contributions.

6369

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the motivation for this special issue and its contributions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a conceptual editorial piece which discusses current methodological tendencies in qualitative accounting research.

Findings

The paper argues that qualitative research involves some balancing acts between, on the one hand, pragmatic and aesthetic aspects and, on the other, the necessary steps for establishing trust in a particular piece of research. The authors explicate how this is manifest in the contributions to this special issue.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the need for greater attention to the many pragmatic aspects associated with qualitative accounting research rarely accounted for in previous texts on the topic.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

1 – 10 of 534