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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 September 2021

Tobias Polzer, Pawan Adhikari, Cong Phuong Nguyen and Levi Gårseth-Nesbakk

The aim of the study is to review the extant literature on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) adoption in emerging economies (EEs) and low-income…

4522

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the study is to review the extant literature on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) adoption in emerging economies (EEs) and low-income countries (LICs) (“what do we know?”), and to propose an agenda for future research (“what do we need to know?”).

Design/methodology/approach

An analytical framework that builds on diffusion theory is developed. The authors follow the “PRISMA Flow Diagram” to reduce a total of 427 articles from four databases to a final sample of 41 articles. These studies are examined, aided by the analytical framework.

Findings

The authors find that IPSASs are a relevant issue for EEs/LICs. Overall, existing research is often explorative. The authors discover that the majority of articles rely on secondary data collection. While two-thirds of the studies perform a content analysis of pre-existing material, about one-fifth of the articles each collect primary data through means of interviews and questionnaires. The findings offer a holistic understanding of where and at what stages IPSAS reforms stand in EEs/LICs, and what factors influence the progression of reforms to the next stage of diffusion.

Originality/value

The authors outline a number of avenues for further research after discussing the dominating trends and structuring the literature based on our analytical framework. These stem from looking at the blank spots and an identified need to contextualise IPSASs adoption in EEs/LICs.

Details

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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 10 February 2022

Tobias Polzer

In a recent paper that was published in Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, Modell (2021) takes stock of the institutional research on…

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Abstract

Purpose

In a recent paper that was published in Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, Modell (2021) takes stock of the institutional research on performance measurement and management (PMM) in the public sector and proposes a number of avenues for further inquiry in the area. The aim of this comment is to contextualise some of his observations against the backdrop of current developments in (new) institutional theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The recent scholarly debate about whether institutional theory needs any redirecting is the point of departure for this comment. Three of the themes from this debate are revisited and implications for research on PMM in the public sector are outlined.

Findings

First, against the backdrop of an emerging plethora of organisational forms in the public sector, this comment focusses on the locus or “where” PMM can be analysed and how organisational forms affect PMM. The second point addresses the “what” of analysis, where it is argued that PMM instruments are embedded in an ecology of concepts and a relational perspective on diffusion is introduced. A third observation is related to methodological issues and discusses the “how”: how best to study manifestations of PMM systems.

Originality/value

The comment illustrates a number of implications of the current developments in (new) institutional theory for research on PMM. In so doing, the wider ambition is to stimulate an exchange between public-sector accounting and organisation studies.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 23 September 2020

Johann Seiwald and Tobias Polzer

Crises constitute stress tests for public sectors, with public financial management (PFM) systems having to respond to emergency needs. In this study, the authors analyze…

1290

Abstract

Purpose

Crises constitute stress tests for public sectors, with public financial management (PFM) systems having to respond to emergency needs. In this study, the authors analyze (1) what elements of the Austrian PFM system have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) what mechanisms have been applied to close identified gaps in the PFM system and to ensure alignment with budget principles. The authors then reflect on these PFM measures.

Design/methodology/approach

The research departs from the pre-crisis configuration of the Austrian PFM system. Making use of a data triangulation strategy, the paper analyses draft laws and regulations with corresponding explanatory notes and impact assessments, transcripts from debates in the federal Parliament and articles and commentaries issued by various stakeholders.

Findings

The analysis of five areas relevant to the reconfiguration of the Austrian PFM system shows that the pandemic has caused an external shock, but at the same time, the current system has not been challenged in substance and has been utilized to react to the pandemic—resulting in (ad hoc) modifications. The system has proved robust and crisis responsive; however, in a reactive pattern, emerging ad hoc elements have been integrated, with a number of defensive mechanisms ensuring compliance with budget principles. In addition, in some areas, more proactive actions have been taken for closing system gaps (e.g. risk disclosure).

Originality/value

The authors evaluate the likelihood of (proposed, decided and implemented) emerging elements or revisions to a PFM system being embedded into the existing PFM system, alongside reflecting on results and necessary further adjustments.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Tobias Polzer, Levi Gårseth-Nesbakk and Pawan Adhikari

The purpose of this paper is to provide a global overview of the adoption status of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) in the different contexts of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a global overview of the adoption status of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) in the different contexts of developed and developing countries on central government level, particularly delineating key reform issues and attempts to overcome these.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on an analytical framework that combines neo-institutional theory with diffusion theory, prior research and official documents were re-analysed.

Findings

There are substantial differences regarding whether countries acknowledge having experienced large implementation challenges and the extent to which the reform benefits have been achieved. The study sheds light on the (institutional) underpinnings of these differences.

Research limitations/implications

First, the analysis could be extended to regional and local governments, as well as social funds. Both qualitative and quantitative strategies are suggested. Second, the implementation of the conceptual framework deserves further attention. Third, further research should more thoroughly scrutinise cost-benefit analyses used for justifying the (non)implementation of IPSASs, and in particular the assumptions that are being made in such analyses.

Practical implications

The paper informs policymakers and standard setters by delineating the areas and issues complicating the widespread adoption of IPSASs across countries, including pointing out directions to overcome these.

Social implications

Substantial amounts of public money are invested internationally to converge accounting standards and translate them into native languages. A close(r) monitoring is needed to ensure that these efforts obtain sufficient value for money.

Originality/value

This study is original as it applies an analytical framework that combines neo-institutional theory and diffusion theory to examine public sector accounting convergence issues internationally. Such an approach explicitly puts a focus on decoupling between reform “talk” (decision) and “walk” (implementation) and helps to analyse the reasons for this decoupling.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 March 2021

Lode De Waele, Tobias Polzer, Arjen van Witteloostuijn and Liselore Berghman

Numerous of today's public sector organisations (PSOs) can be characterised as hybrids. Hybridity is caused by different (at times conflicting) demands that stem from the…

2956

Abstract

Purpose

Numerous of today's public sector organisations (PSOs) can be characterised as hybrids. Hybridity is caused by different (at times conflicting) demands that stem from the institutional environment, which is likely to affect performance measurement in these organisations. This paper focuses on the relationship between hybridity and organisational performance, which has so far not been studied in detail.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a literature review (final sample of 56 articles), the authors systematise performance dimensions alongside the pillars “economy”, “efficiency”, “effectiveness” and “(social) equity”. The article summarises results in a framework for measuring performance in hybrid PSOs. The authors outline strategies as to how public managers can tailor frameworks to the requirements and idiosyncrasies of organisations.

Findings

Since hybrid PSOs combine logics from different administrative models (Weberian bureaucracy, market-capitalism and democracy), so need their organisational performance measurement systems. Potential synergies from and frictions between the different performance dimensions related to the four pillars are discussed.

Originality/value

This is the first literature review on performance dimensions and their application in hybrid PSOs. The distilled “hybrid performance measurement framework” can be scrutinised and further refined in future research.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 January 2020

Tobias Polzer and Christoph Reichard

The European Commission is pursuing an initiative to establish European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) as a common mandatory set of rules for financial…

Abstract

Purpose

The European Commission is pursuing an initiative to establish European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) as a common mandatory set of rules for financial reporting of all member states of the European Union (EU). As a basis for developing EPSAS, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are being used. The purpose of this paper is to structure and analyze the discussion around EPSAS, with particular emphasis on the arguments that were brought forward by governments and other stakeholders of various EU countries regarding the suitability of IPSAS.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on several schools of thought in new institutional theory, how the prevailing institutional contexts in countries influence the debates is explored. Empirically, this research investigates the responses to a consultation on the suitability of IPSAS for EU member states and takes a closer look, via document analysis, at France and Germany as two critical cases.

Findings

It is found that, first, the majority of arguments from respondents are framed in a rational choice way. Second, skeptics of IPSAS tend to make arguments rather from positions closer to historical and/or sociological institutionalism.

Research limitations/implications

The paper illustrates that while technical matters around EPSAS seem solvable, political, historical and cultural differences go deeper, and need to be addressed by change agents. Regarding limitations of the research, first, the analysis concentrates on financial reporting and does not deal with the implications for more reliable and comparable national accounts in the context of the European System of Accounts (ESA, 2010). Second, it is focused on debates in the context of the EPSAS proposal, and there is a need for an evaluation after the changes have gone live.

Originality/value

The study looks at a text genre that has so far received less attention in public sector accounting research: responses to consultations. The paper contributes to the literature by showing how institutional contexts matter in settings characterized by contestation of reform contents.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 January 2021

Isabella M. Nolte, Tobias Polzer and Johann Seiwald

Gender budgeting aims to include a gender perspective at all stages of the budgetary process. Emerging economies (EEs) face different challenges in gender equality to…

Abstract

Purpose

Gender budgeting aims to include a gender perspective at all stages of the budgetary process. Emerging economies (EEs) face different challenges in gender equality to high-income economies–with larger informal economic sectors that typically employ a larger proportion of women and weaker political accountability. We analyse the literature on gender budgeting in EEs and derive avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a systematic literature review, we investigate the focus of research on gender budgeting in EEs and analyse how the literature has developed over the last decade.

Findings

Our results show that gender budgeting is a relevant topic in EEs. The literature focuses on overall rationales for employing gender budgeting and its theoretical implementation. However, many studies remain explorative, reviewing existing content without collecting new and potentially more suitable data. The evidence on the success of gender budgeting initiatives is mixed. While a number of studies present positive experiences regarding certain aspects of gender budgeting, other studies discuss a decoupling between adopted instruments and their actual use, as well as projects not being further pursued or developed when donors retreat.

Originality/value

Given the identified lack of studies reporting on actual implementation experiences, future research should address gender budgeting from an accounting and accountability perspective and focus on the reform impacts.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2022

Tobias Polzer, Sebastian Vith and Günter Bauer

The local government auditing (LGA) landscape in Austria can be characterised as fragmented terrain, due to different regulations in the nine regions and a plethora of…

Abstract

The local government auditing (LGA) landscape in Austria can be characterised as fragmented terrain, due to different regulations in the nine regions and a plethora of involved actors. The contours of the landscape have changed significantly during the past decades, with three major interrelated developments taking place: (1) administrative decentralisation led to an increase in the number of auditee organisations; (2) with the establishment of regional audit institutions (RAIs), new auditor organisations appeared as actors; and (3) auditing practices evolved, for example, with respect to an expansion of performance audits and the use of technology. In this chapter, the authors put a focus on RAIs that play a major role in LGA. The authors portray the historical roots of the LGA landscape and give a descriptive overview of the current structures and practices.

Details

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

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2022

Tobias Polzer and Dunli Li

Digitalisation, big data and data analytics are hot topics for today's economic sectors. Given these trends, developing information technology capabilities of those who…

Abstract

Purpose

Digitalisation, big data and data analytics are hot topics for today's economic sectors. Given these trends, developing information technology capabilities of those who wish to join the public sector workforce has been emphasised in public administration teaching curricula. In this chapter, focusing on the public sector, we ask: What kind of data is published by governments and how can these data be used in teaching data analytics?

Design/Method

Against the backdrop of the growing importance of data analytics in public sector management curricula, this chapter uses the IMPACT cycle model to demonstrate how datasets from open government data portals can be used for teaching.

Findings

Several examples are shown to illustrate the different steps of the IMPACT cycle model. Concluding remarks include a reflection where potential caveats, dysfunctions and limits of data analytics are outlined.

Originality

The chapter explicitly focuses on ‘real world’ open government data published on open data portals. A holistic approach to data analytics ‘from start to finish’ is shown, including preparing datasets for the analysis and presenting results to line managers, whereas some of the previous work solely shows parts (e.g. testing the data).

Details

Reimagining Public Sector Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-022-1

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2016

Tobias Polzer, Renate E. Meyer, Markus A. Höllerer and Johann Seiwald

Despite an abundance of studies on hybridization and hybrid forms of organizing, scholarly work has failed to distinguish consistently between specific types of hybridity…

Abstract

Despite an abundance of studies on hybridization and hybrid forms of organizing, scholarly work has failed to distinguish consistently between specific types of hybridity. As a consequence, the analytical category has become blurred and lacks conceptual clarity. Our paper discusses hybridity as the simultaneous appearance of institutional logics in organizational contexts, and differentiates the parallel co-existence of logics from transitional combinations (eventually leading to the replacement of a logic) and more robust combinations in the form of layering and blending. While blending refers to hybridity as an “amalgamate” with original components that are no longer discernible, the notion of layering conceptualizes hybridity in a way that the various elements, or clusters thereof, are added on top of, or alongside, each other, similar to sediment layers in geology. We illustrate and substantiate such conceptual differentiation with an empirical study of the dynamics of public sector reform. In more detail, we examine the parliamentary discourse around two major reforms of the Austrian Federal Budget Law in 1986 and in 2007/2009 in order to trace administrative (reform) paradigms. Each of the three identified paradigms manifests a specific field-level logic with implications for the state and its administration: bureaucracy in Weberian-style Public Administration, market-capitalism in New Public Management, and democracy in New Public Governance. We find no indication of a parallel co-existence or transitional combination of logics, but hybridity in the form of robust combinations. We explore how new ideas fundamentally build on – and are made resonant with – the central bureaucratic logic in a way that suggests layering rather than blending. The conceptual findings presented in our paper have implications for the literature on institutional analysis and institutional hybridity.

Details

How Institutions Matter!
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-431-0

Keywords

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