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  • 1.
    Hasselbladh, Hans
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Bejerot, Eva
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Representing and intervening in Swedish education-Mediating and adjudicating by grading numbers2019In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Educational reforms are attempts to transform and reconstitute conceptions of knowledge, the practice of teaching and the forms of subjectivity associated with being a teacher, pupil, and parent. We will investigate a particular aspect of the extensive changes that have swept across the landscape of Swedish education over the last decades. We will show how the grading system has come to fulfill a mediating role between progressivist educational ideas and neo-liberal notions of individual choice and entrepreneurship, by way of adjudicating and mediating educational performance for individual pupils, schools, and the education system at large. The aggregated output of the grading system is used for instrumental purposes such as performance management, quality management, and bench marking in the school system. Grading and its associated practices extend throughout the entire school system, defining success and failure from individual classrooms to the national level as the dominant form of representing school performance. The grading system was initially intended to reshape the inner workings of education in Sweden but subsequently became the "gold standard" deployed in various managerial practices. Our analysis demonstrate the performative powers when seemingly innocent techniques are put to use in public sector reforms and new worlds are made and unmade by complex constellations of seemingly mundane techniques and ideational frameworks.

  • 2.
    Johansson, Tobias
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    Municipal contracting out: Governance choices, misalignment and performance in Swedish local government2008In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 24, no 3, p. 243-264Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper we apply a Transaction Cost Theory framework to analyse the use and effects of contracting out in Swedish local government. During the last decade Swedish local authorities, like in many other countries, have, to a larger extent, started to contract external subcontractors to fulfil their responsibilities towards its citizens. It is not only in the traditional subcontracting sectors such as housing, infrastructure, and technical services that this trend is evident, but also in policy areas like education, social care, and elderly care. In fact, very little is known about the overall effects of, and the mechanisms underlying, governance choices. The overall results corroborate transaction cost reasoning. Supplier competition and specificity have anticipated effects on municipal de-integration. Too little, but not too much, use of contracting out, in relation to theoretical predictions, worsens performance. The latter aspect is not fully in accordance with TCE-propositions.

  • 3.
    Johansson, Tobias
    et al.
    Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
    Siverbo, Sven
    School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Explaining the utilization of relative performance evaluation in local government: a multi-theoretical study using data from Sweden2009In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 197-224Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the more lasting imprints that New Public Management (NPM) has made in the public sector is an increase in the popularity of performance measurement. In Sweden, performance measurement has gained popularity in the public sector, not least at the local government level with the use of relative performance evaluation (RPE). Because utilization of RPE is a decentralized and optional mode of governance, a somewhat heterogeneous practice has evolved. The aim of this paper is to examine the causes of this differentiated practice. We jointly examine economic, political and institutional/cultural explanations in order to account for the utilization of RPE. The empirical material consists of archival data and a questionnaire sent to all Swedish municipalities in late 2005. We show that RPE adoption and use partly has different antecedents and that the institutional/cultural perspective appears to have greater explanatory power than economic and political, not least as a consequence of the potential to explain decoupling and the importance of change facilitating capabilities. The investigation contributes specifically to the literature on the utilization of RPE in local governments and more generally to the literature on why and to what extent management accounting practices are utilized.

  • 4.
    Johansson, Tobias
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Siverbo, Sven
    Department of Economics and IT, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden.
    The relationship between supplier control and competition in public sector outsourcing2018In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 34, no 3, p. 268-287Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this article is to develop theory and contribute to empirical studies about how the effectiveness of bureaucratic controls in public sector outsourcing is contingent upon supplier competition, and why and how this interaction plays out differently for hard and soft types of outsourced services. In previous inter‐organizational management control (IOMC) research there is a contradiction between theory and empirical results concerning how bureaucratic control and supplier competition interacts in aligning suppliers. While IOMC theory suggests competition reduces the need for bureaucratic control, empirical studies clearly indicate the opposite. We extend previous research and theorizing by differing between the outsourcing of hard and soft types of services and by testing the joint effect of bureaucratic control and competition on supplier alignment. The empirical case for testing theory is outsourcing by competitive tendering in the public sector. We use transaction level data from 166 local government suppliers in Sweden. In accordance with our prediction, the effect of bureaucratic control in aligning suppliers decreases with supplier competition when hard types of services are outsourced. For soft types of services, our results indicate that bureaucratic control is not contingent upon supplier competition. Furthermore, we show that when supplier competition is low the effect of bureaucratic control on supplier alignment is stronger for hard than for soft types of services. These results constitute an important contribution to the central notion of the interplay between bureaucratic control and competition in the IOMC literature.

  • 5.
    Wällstedt, Niklas
    Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Client Focus, Cooperation and Coherence: (Re)professionalising Processes for Elderly Care2017In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 3-26Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper suggests the study of professionalism and the professionalising processes within public sector organisations. Sociologists propose that professionalism is changing into a new variant developing under the premise of organisational management and control. This paper disputes the perspective that the use of management control leads to deprofessionalisation in terms of the routinisation of reflective professional tasks or weakened professional values. This paper proposes that, with client focus, professionals and accountants can cooperate and create coherence between management control system elements and professional values. This dynamic contributes to the retention of professional values and more reflective work procedures.

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