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Article
Publication date: 23 December 2019

Toni Mättö, Jenna Anttonen, Marko Järvenpää and Antti Rautiainen

This study investigates the difficulties involved in translating stakeholder expectations into action and maintaining legitimacy through the use of a performance measurement…

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates the difficulties involved in translating stakeholder expectations into action and maintaining legitimacy through the use of a performance measurement system (PMS) created in a Finnish regional development company (RDC). This longitudinal case study illustrates the fluctuating and socially constructed nature of legitimacy in the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative case study longitudinally analyzes the various developments occurring during and after the development of a PMS system for the case organization. Empirical data include interviews, workshops, observation and other materials relating to the case organization.

Findings

The initial interest in operational improvement changed to legitimation-seeking behavior by the case organization when the measures created were modified to accord with the changed preferences of the key stakeholders. However, the pursuit of legitimacy for the RDC was made difficult by the outcome-oriented, changing and contradictory nature of stakeholders’ demands. This study’s findings reveal a continuous mismatch between organizational activities and the board’s expectations, leading to the eventual closure of the organization.

Practical implications

The findings help to analyze the legitimacy and relevance of PMSs in public-sector projects. The study highlights the practical importance of analyzing the different legitimacy priorities of various stakeholder groups, such as politicians and entrepreneurs.

Originality/value

The study analyzes the fluctuating nature of legitimacy longitudinally in the public-sector context from the stakeholder perspective. This study analyzes a situation where the stakeholders’ evaluations of the legitimacy of the organization, and the PMS developed, change over time, complicating the accounting for stakeholders.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 October 2019

Toni Mättö

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effectiveness of a quality improvement method in driving innovation in the public sector. The study expands on the concept of…

3228

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effectiveness of a quality improvement method in driving innovation in the public sector. The study expands on the concept of innovation and analyses the types and usefulness of the innovations observed.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilizes an action research approach. The aim of the quality improvement method introduced is to generate innovations enhancing efficiency. An interventionist research method is required to produce the findings. Data collection methods include a preliminary question sheet, interview, workshops, observation and the examination of other material concerning the case organization.

Findings

The study supports the notion that innovations created with a quality improvement method can be more oriented towards process improvement, particularly in the public sector. Further, when the method enables professionals from different functions to participate in the process, the innovations created can be more comprehensively designed. Innovations can be classified according to their degree of novelty, type, resource consumption and the projected outcome. A project follow-up makes it possible to compare the projected outcome of the innovation against its actual outcome.

Practical implications

The method applied could be a viable option for practitioners considering public sector quality improvement and innovation capacity building. The paper provides guidelines for prioritizing innovations in terms of their resource consumption and usefulness.

Originality/value

Integrating quality improvement with innovation generation as a potential efficiency source for public-sector organizations has received relatively little research attention. Further, the paper provides a categorization for innovations in the public sector that provides guidelines for prioritizing innovations.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 June 2022

Toni Mättö, Marko Järvenpää, Pekka Peura, Merja Kangasjärvi and Harri Lehtinen

This case study aims to report a longitudinal analysis of the development and use of local “vernacular” accounting practice and a digital rolling-forecast system known as…

1068

Abstract

Purpose

This case study aims to report a longitudinal analysis of the development and use of local “vernacular” accounting practice and a digital rolling-forecast system known as TeamBudget in a public sector organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs the constructive research approach which utilizes participative observation in the development of TeamBudget over the 15 years since 2004. The empirical data utilized includes eight interviews and documentary data for the system created.

Findings

The study demonstrates how the actions of employees responsible for developing a locally relevant financial planning system, TeamBudget, facilitated the emergence of new accounting routines associated with the newly created system. A locally created accounting system thus became institutionalized into a wider organizational setting over time. The current study presents findings that explain the routinization of informal accounting activities and the subsequent institutionalization process.

Practical implications

Understanding the potential influence of local action on the organization-wide accounting system may foster the creation of accounting tools that could spread participation and commitment throughout a public sector organization, contributing towards enhancing the enabling effect of an organizational accounting system. When designing a local budgeting system, decoupling it from the organizational system may promote its institutionalization.

Originality/value

Antecedents of informal accounting routines have received little research attention. This study illustrates actions relating to local accounting practice were antecedents of accounting routines and subsequent institutional changes in broader organizational practices in a public sector organization. The study demonstrates how vernacular accounting practice can facilitate the institutionalization process.

Details

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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 16 November 2023

Kari Sippola, Jukka Pellinen, Antti Rautiainen, Toni Mättö and Vesa Voutilainen

This study aims to explore the formation of municipal risk management (RM) and the reasons for the differences of RM practices between the seven biggest cities in Finland.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the formation of municipal risk management (RM) and the reasons for the differences of RM practices between the seven biggest cities in Finland.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data of this comparative qualitative case study comprises 33 interviews conducted with municipal managers. Supplementary material includes documentary material on municipal rules governing RM as well as annual reports and risk tools used in the municipalities.

Findings

This study found differences in cities with respect to when, how and why RM practices had evolved. The results indicate that differences in RM practices and development paths between cities are largely explained by the differences in the original reason to initiate RM, time span since its introduction, professional and educational backgrounds of risk managers, local risk events and accounting infrastructure such as RM tools developed in a city. These findings also suggest that even within the same municipality, different functions can be at different phases regarding RM.

Originality/value

This study reports on RM as a new form of accounting in the field of Finnish municipalities. This highlights how fairly uniform considerations at the field level lead to variation in the elaboration of RM practices at the municipal level. The study finds that different paths in the development of local RM involve iterative evolution between the phases of emergence, largely explained by contextual differences. This study contributes to understanding the emergence of new accounting forms in a municipal RM context.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 February 2018

Jukka Pellinen, Toni Mättö, Kari Sippola and Antti Rautiainen

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the complexity of the network governance setting affects accountability practices. The authors pay particular attention to the…

1225

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the complexity of the network governance setting affects accountability practices. The authors pay particular attention to the organizational characteristics that may enable a common understanding of multiple accountability relationships, or lead to problems in reconciling competing forms of accountability, thereby appearing as blame game-type behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a case study with 31 semi-structured interviews in a Finnish health care organization (FHC) that offers basic public health care services. The organization represents a co-operative arrangement with the main city and three smaller municipalities. The FHC has faced difficulties in balancing budget constraints with the provision of statutory care to citizens. This case is analyzed with the help of theories relating to accountability, the blame game, and dialogue.

Findings

The authors found that in the FHC operating under austerity constraints, attempts to reconcile financial, professional, and democratic accountability were made but, instead of dialogue and consensus, the different stakeholder groups resorted to defensive tactics in order to protect their resources, position, or sense of professional obligation. The authors suggest that in a context of network governance, accompanied by an increasing emphasis on financial accountability, organizational practices are susceptible to conflicting accountabilities and behavior characterized in this paper as a blame game.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the empirical studies on accountability in the new public governance context by analyzing the complex accountability relations between stakeholder groups with different agendas. The authors suggest organizational characteristics that may exacerbate conflicts between different stakeholder groups and prevent constructive dialogue. Furthermore, the study analyzes the composition of democratic accountability within the studied organization.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 August 2021

Antti Rautiainen, Toni Mättö, Kari Sippola and Jukka O. Pellinen

This article analyzes the cognitive microfoundations, conflicting institutional logics and professional hybridization in a case characterized by conflict.

1955

Abstract

Purpose

This article analyzes the cognitive microfoundations, conflicting institutional logics and professional hybridization in a case characterized by conflict.

Design/methodology/approach

In contrast to the majority of earlier studies focusing on special health care, the study was conducted in a Finnish basic health care organization. The empirical data include 36 interviews, accounting reports, budgets, newspaper articles and meeting notes collected 2013–2018.

Findings

The use of accounting techniques in this case did not offer professionals sufficient support under conditions of conflict. The authors suggest that this perceived lack of support intensified the negative emotions toward accounting techniques. These negative emotions aggregated into incompatible professional-level institutional logics, which contributed to the lack of hybridization between such logics. The authors highlight the importance of the cognitive microfoundations, that is, the individual-level interpretations and emotional responses, in the analysis of conflicting institutional logics.

Practical implications

Managerial attention needs to be directed to accounting practices perceived as frustrating or threatening, a perception that can prevent the use of accounting techniques in the creation of professional hybrids. The Finnish basic health care context involves inconsistent political decision-making, multiple tasks, three institutional logics and individual interpretations and emotions in various decision-making situations.

Originality/value

This study develops microfoundational accounting research by illustrating how individual-level cognitive microfoundations such as dissatisfaction with budgeting, aggregate into professional-level institutional logics, and in our case, prevent professional hybridization in a basic health care setting characterized by conflict and three separate institutional logics.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Lili-Anne Kihn and Salme Näsi

Several scholars have recently highlighted the narrowness of accounting research regarding it as a threat to scholarly developments in the field. The aim of this study was to…

1239

Abstract

Purpose

Several scholars have recently highlighted the narrowness of accounting research regarding it as a threat to scholarly developments in the field. The aim of this study was to chart progress in management accounting research using a sample of doctoral dissertations published in Finland. In particular, the study examines the range and diversity of research strategic choices in Finnish dissertations over time, including the topics and methodological and theoretical approaches chosen. The authors also briefly compare findings over time and with other progress studies.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal historical investigation was selected. All of the 80 management accounting doctoral dissertations published in Finnish business schools and departments during 1945-2015 were analysed.

Findings

The findings reveal that an expansion of doctoral education has led to an increasing diversity of research strategic choices in Finland. Different issues have been of interest at different times; so, it has been possible to cover a wide range of cost, management accounting and other topics and to use different methodological and theoretical approaches over time. Consequently, management accounting has become a rich and multifaceted field of scientific research.

Research limitations/implications

While this analysis is limited to doctoral research in Finland, the results should be relevant in advancing the understanding of the development of management accounting research.

Practical implications

Overall, the findings support the view that there have been, and continue to be, many ways to conduct innovative research in the field of management accounting.

Social implications

Dissertation research in this field has been extensive and vital enough to educate new generations of academics, guarantee continuity of the subject as an academic discipline and make management accounting a significant academic field of research.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to current research on management accounting change by an analysis of a sample of doctoral dissertations.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Francisco Gaetani, Pedro Palotti and Roberto Pires

The objective of this chapter is to describe and analyze Brazil's main steps in its long and incomplete process of organizing a professional and responsive public service. During…

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to describe and analyze Brazil's main steps in its long and incomplete process of organizing a professional and responsive public service. During the twentieth century, Brazil had two authoritarian regimes and organized a state-oriented process of industrialization. After 1988, democracy has changed how public administration should be constituted, imposing demands for universal recruitment and accountability. The level of professionalization of the federal public service was improved, with a higher level of education, better wages and the recruitment of public servants to management positions. The challenges ahead are improving governance and executive coordination and raising the responsiveness and quality of public management (such as human resources, planning, budgeting, procurement, information and communication technologies, and organizational modeling) in a context of political instability, slow economic recovery, and substantial public debts at the federal government.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Public Administration in Latin America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-677-1

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2000

Index by subjects, compiled by K.G.B. Bakewell covering the following journals: Facilities Volumes 8‐17; Journal of Property Investment & Finance Volumes 8‐17; Property Management…

27401

Abstract

Index by subjects, compiled by K.G.B. Bakewell covering the following journals: Facilities Volumes 8‐17; Journal of Property Investment & Finance Volumes 8‐17; Property Management Volumes 8‐17; Structural Survey Volumes 8‐17.

Details

Facilities, vol. 18 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

K.G.B. Bakewell

Compiled by K.G.B. Bakewell covering the following journals published by MCB University Press: Facilities Volumes 8‐18; Journal of Property Investment & Finance Volumes 8‐18;…

18522

Abstract

Compiled by K.G.B. Bakewell covering the following journals published by MCB University Press: Facilities Volumes 8‐18; Journal of Property Investment & Finance Volumes 8‐18; Property Management Volumes 8‐18; Structural Survey Volumes 8‐18.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

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