Accounting for competition, governance and accountability during institutional change in not-for-profit and public sector organisations

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    Purpose The aim of this thesis1 is to analyse theoretically how institutionalisation of competitive tendering2, governance and budgetary policies cannot be taken for granted to lead to accountability among institutional actors3. The nature of an institutionalised management accounting policy, its relevance as a source of power in organisational decision making, and in negotiating inter-organisational relationships, are also analysed. Practical motivation The practical motivation of the thesis is to show how practitioners and policy makers can institutionalise changes which improve the power of management accounting and control systems4 as a mechanism of accountability among institutional actors and in negotiating relationships with other organisations. Theoretical motivation and conceptual approach The theoretical motivation of the thesis is to extend the institutional framework of management accounting change proposed by Burns and Scapens (2000) by using the theories of critical realism, communicative action, negotiated order and the framework of circuits of power. The Burns and Scapens framework needs further theorisation to analyse the relationship between the institutionalisation of management accounting and accountability; and the relevance of management accounting information in negotiating in inter-organisational relationships. Methodology and field studies Field research took place in public and not-for-profit health care organisations and a municipality in Finland from 2008 to 2013. Data were gathered by document analysis, interviews, participation in meetings and observations. Findings The findings are explained in four different essays that show that institutionalisation of competitive tendering, governance and budgetary policies cannot be taken for granted to lead to accountability among institutional actors. The ways by which institutional actors think and act can be influenced by other institutional mechanisms, such as inter-organisational circuits of power and intraorganisational governance policies, independent of the institutional change process. The relevance of institutionalised management accounting policies in negotiating relationships between two or more organisations depends on processes and contexts through which institutional actors use management accounting information as a tool of communication, mutual understanding and power. Research limitations / implications The theoretical framework used can be applied validly in other studies. The empirical findings cannot be generalised directly to other organisations than the organisations analysed. Practical implications Competitive tendering and budgetary policies can be institutionalised to shape actions of institutional actors within an organisation. To lead to accountability, practitioners and policy makers should implement governance policies that increase the use of management accounting information in institutional actors’ thinking, actions and responsibility for their actions. To reach a negotiated order between organisations, institutionalised management accounting policies should be used as one of the tools of communication aiming to reach mutual agreement among institutional actors.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Print ISBNs978-952-12-3002-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Cite this