Understanding political accountability in a strong structuration framework

Jean Claude Mutiganda, Janne Järvinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Purpose
    Research was conducted to investigate whether, and how, political accountability might stabilise when agents are faced with profound changes in external structures such as competition laws and austerity policies.
    Design/methodology/approach
    We performed a field study from 2007 to 2015 in a regional hub in Finland and worked with data from document analysis, interviews and meeting observations. We have used embedded research design, where we apply methodological bracketing as well as composite sequence analysis for field research.
    Findings
    Accountability declined when irresistible external structures were the dominant influence on the unreflective actions of agents-in-focus. With time, however, the agents started acting critically by drawing on structures that could facilitate strategic actions to stabilise political accountability.
    Research limitations/implications
    The field research and interpretation of the data were limited to the organisation analysed; however, the theoretical arguments allow for analytical generalisations.
    Practical implications
    The research demonstrates how public officials and political decision-makers can eventually adopt a strategic approach when faced with irresistible change in external structures.
    Social implications
    The research demonstrates how public officials and political decision-makers can eventually adopt a strategic approach when faced with irresistible changes in external structures.
    Originality/value
    The study locates political accountability in the context of strong structuration theory and discusses how it is redefined by external structures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)80-103
    JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
    Volume34
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • Accountability
    • public sector
    • Strong structuration
    • Position-practice

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