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Svärdsten Nymans, Fredrik
Alternative names
Publications (10 of 29) Show all publications
Svärdsten Nymans, F. & Modell, S. (2023). Accounting, Calculative Infrastructures and Commensuration Work. The European Accounting Review, 1-26
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Accounting, Calculative Infrastructures and Commensuration Work
2023 (English)In: The European Accounting Review, ISSN 0963-8180, E-ISSN 1468-4497, p. 1-26Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Accounting scholars are paying increasing attention to the notion of commensuration, or the translation of different objects into common metrics that make the entities that are subject to performance evaluation comparable, and the effects this has on organizational behavior. This body of research draws attention to organizations’ commensuration work, defined as the efforts that evaluated organizations expend in pursuing and dealing with resistance to commensuration, but has mainly explored how such work emerges in response to a single set of comparable metrics such as individual rankings or ratings. By contrast, we ask how commensuration work unfolds in relation to a broader assemblage of calculative infrastructures. Such infrastructures can entail multiple, inter-related performance evaluation procedures that influence organizations’ commensuration work and give rise to complex patterns of reactivity, denoting the propensity of organizations to alter their behavior as they internalize external pressures for performance evaluation. Our empirical findings underline the importance of adopting a multi-layered view of commensuration work, that entails both direct and indirect forms of reactivity, as it unfolds in relation to a broader assemblage of calculative infrastructures. We discuss the implications of adopting such a view for future research on commensuration and related research on performance evaluation. 

Keywords
Accounting, calculative infrastructure, commensuration, reactivity
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-213473 (URN)10.1080/09638180.2023.2166091 (DOI)000918257300001 ()2-s2.0-85146999730 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-01-05 Created: 2023-01-05 Last updated: 2023-08-16
Sundström, A. & Svärdsten Nymans, F. (2023). Coordinating strategy and management control in public sector strategic management. In: : . Paper presented at IRSPM International Research Society in Public Management, 3-5 April 2023, Budapest, Hungary..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordinating strategy and management control in public sector strategic management
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-224144 (URN)
Conference
IRSPM International Research Society in Public Management, 3-5 April 2023, Budapest, Hungary.
Available from: 2023-12-01 Created: 2023-12-01 Last updated: 2023-12-04Bibliographically approved
Svärdsten Nymans, F. & Tamm Hallström, K. (2022). Irrational organization for ‘closeness’ in auditing? A study of the Swedish LGBTQI-certification. In: : . Paper presented at 38th EGOS Colloquium, July 7–9, 2022, Vienna, Austria.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Irrational organization for ‘closeness’ in auditing? A study of the Swedish LGBTQI-certification
2022 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-212745 (URN)
Conference
38th EGOS Colloquium, July 7–9, 2022, Vienna, Austria
Available from: 2022-12-12 Created: 2022-12-12 Last updated: 2023-01-30
Svärdsten Nymans, F. & Tamm Hallström, K. (2022). Negotiating audit credibility in the margins: Avoidance of partial organization in the Swedish LGBTQI-certification. In: : . Paper presented at Score conference Organizing the world 2.0, Stockholm, Sweden, 6–7 October, 2022.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Negotiating audit credibility in the margins: Avoidance of partial organization in the Swedish LGBTQI-certification
2022 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Social Sciences Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-212744 (URN)
Conference
Score conference Organizing the world 2.0, Stockholm, Sweden, 6–7 October, 2022
Available from: 2022-12-12 Created: 2022-12-12 Last updated: 2022-12-19
Svärdsten Nymans, F., Tamm Hallström, K. & Yngfalk, C. (2022). Partially responsible? Partial organization and (de-)responsibilization in sustainability standard work. Illustrations from two opposite certification practices. In: : . Paper presented at 38th EGOS Colloquium, Organizing: The Beauty of Imperfection, 7-9 July, 2022, Vienna, Austria.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Partially responsible? Partial organization and (de-)responsibilization in sustainability standard work. Illustrations from two opposite certification practices
2022 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The paper contributes to the emerging discussions on responsibility implications of partial organization in the world of standards, that is, decided order outside of and among formal organizations around the use of standards (e.g., Arnold, 2020; Gustafsson & Tamm Hallström, 2018; Gustafsson, 2020; Brunsson et al. 2022). More specifically, we are interested in responsibility implications in how sustainability is performed in contemporary markets through sustainability standards and certifications. Rather than focusing on how sustainability standards are implemented (or not) in organizations, the paper answers the recent call by Christensen, Morsing and Thyssen (2017) to examine productive implications of organizational work with sustainability standards in terms of contestation, reflection and innovation around sustainability issues.

Accordingly, we examine if, how and why different modes of organizing standard work construct and shape responsibility in and around organizations complying with sustainability standards. We draw on two empirical studies of certification practices with different degrees of partial organization: one where one and the same organization sets standards and performs certification (the Swedish LGBTQI certification used by e.g., preschools and libraries), and another where different “independent” organizations write standards and perform certification (the Swedish eco-label KRAV for organic produce used by e.g., farmers and retailers). 

Our findings show that the conditions for contestation, reflection and innovation, and thus the performance of sustainability in markets, indeed are affected by the way certification standards are (partially) organized – and thereby the number of organizations involved in partially organizing others – however in more intricate ways than expected.

 

References

Arnold, N. (2020) Accountability in transnational governance: The partial organization of voluntary sustainability standards in long-term account-giving. Regulation and Governance, 28, 1–17.

Brunsson, N., Gustafsson, I., & Tamm Hallström, K. (2022). Un-responsible organization. How more organization produces less responsibility. Forthcoming in Organization Theory.

Gustafsson, I. (2020). How standards rule the world: The construction of a global control regime. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Gustafsson, I., & Tamm Hallström, K. (2018). Hyper-organized eco-labels – An organization studies perspective on the implications of Tripartite Standards Regimes. Food Policy, 75, 124–133.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-203406 (URN)
Conference
38th EGOS Colloquium, Organizing: The Beauty of Imperfection, 7-9 July, 2022, Vienna, Austria
Available from: 2022-03-31 Created: 2022-03-31 Last updated: 2022-10-04
Höglund, L., Holmgren Caicedo, M., Mårtensson, M. & Svärdsten, F. (2021). Strategic management accounting in the public sector context: the case of the Swedish Transport Administration. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, 33(4), 468-486
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategic management accounting in the public sector context: the case of the Swedish Transport Administration
2021 (English)In: Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, ISSN 1096-3367, E-ISSN 1945-1814, Vol. 33, no 4, p. 468-486Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The objective of this paper is to generate further knowledge about strategic management accounting (SMA) in the public sector context. The authors attempt to do this through a study of SMA work in a public sector agency (PSA), the Swedish Transport Administration (STA). The paper elaborates on the formation of the agency’s strategies and the challenges the agency’s SMA work had to deal with, and focuses its analysis on the interplay between SMA and the characteristics of the public sector as well as how it is constitutive of strategy.

Design/methodology/approach – The empirical material was gathered between 2013 and 2015 and consists of documents that include the STA’s appropriation, mandate, strategic and operational plans, and balanced scorecard, as well as interviews with 35 civil servants at various levels of the STA.

Findings – The study finds that, depending on the performances of PSAs in their specific environment and the influences from the environment’s constituents, SMA may function as an instrument that makes or breaks strategies. The characteristics of the public sector context may therefore affect SMA, and by extension, strategy, in several ways. First, the present case shows that the inherent reduction that the focus of SMA techniques entails, and their inability to deal with the complexity of a PSA’s context, places them at constant risk of becoming strategically irrelevant in the eyes of knowledgeable local managers in a PSA. Second, interventions from the government may override a PSA’s SMA and in effect make a PSA’s strategic focus ambiguous. Third, outside monitoring performed by such actors as the National Audit Office and the mass media may influence a PSA’s SMA work both directly and indirectly when the agency and the government are responsive to the agenda set by such scrutiny.

Originality/value – The paper broadens the scope of earlier SMA research in the public sector by including the specific characteristics of the public sector in the analysis and how accounting techniques may come to compete for strategic placement as they are propelled from within and from without the organization.

Keywords
Public sector agencies, Strategic management accounting, Central government
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-194961 (URN)10.1108/JPBAFM-12-2019-0180 (DOI)000676214400006 ()
Available from: 2021-07-27 Created: 2021-07-27 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved
Catasús, B., Bay, C., Sundström, A. & Svärdsten, F. (2020). The "death" of calculation: Exploring the conditions of calculative practices. In: : . Paper presented at Accounting as a Social and Organizational Practice (ASOP), Sydney University, 13-14 February, 2020.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The "death" of calculation: Exploring the conditions of calculative practices
2020 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper draws attention to people’s pension savings and their responses to the increasing calls urging them to engage in practices of calculation about their future life as retirees. Recurring studies report that these calculation exercises have turned out to raise problems to people, provoking – at times – frustration or even indifference among pension savers. But why is that so? Why do people not engage in this kind of calculations?

Prior literature suggests that mechanic calculation presupposes a set of conditions. Individual knowledge-based capacity (Lusardi and Mitchell 2007) as well as commensurate translations that enables possibilities for comparisons between different kinds of choices (Espeland and Stevens 1998; Callon & Law, 2005) are but a few conditions that are suggested to be fulfilled in order to make rational calculation feasible. There are situations, however, when calculation is called for and expected to be attended to without controversy, but still turn out as moments where rational principles of calculation do not seem to apply (Espeland and Stevens 1998). Calculating one’s pension might be argued to represent one such situation. Based on our empirical observations, the basis for rational calculation seems to be challenged when pension savers are asked to imagine an existence taking place in a future several decades ahead from the life they lead today. Hence, in order to further explore the reasons to this experienced calculative dilemma, we ask: What role does future play in practicing pension calculations?

The aim of this paper is to extend our understanding of the conditions of calculation. The idea is to investigate situations in which calculation entail dilemmas of rationality. To frame the conditions of calculation, we draw on Jaspers’ idea of boundary situations (2010). A boundary situation is a moment in which a person is faced with discrepancies and contradictions that cannot easily be resolved by means of rational thinking. We suggest that people’s pension management offers such a moment, investigating how people read and understand pension accounts in the light of a future that involves different kinds of ‘deaths’: the termination of professional life; the consequences of physical decay, and the end of life itself.

The study demonstrates that practices of calculations inevitably links to imagining the future but also, and by consequence, how calculations become circumscribed when these future imaginations involve existential concerns that rule out rational reasoning. In such cases, calculations transforms into a practice that stretches beyond rationality, suggesting that when the future is unimaginable, calculation becomes nonsensical or even absurd. This, in turn, adds a time dimension to the conditions of calculation, an issue which to date has not explicitly been addressed in prior accounting literature.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-191350 (URN)
Conference
Accounting as a Social and Organizational Practice (ASOP), Sydney University, 13-14 February, 2020
Available from: 2021-03-16 Created: 2021-03-16 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved
Svärdsten, F. (2019). The 'front stage' of substance auditing: A study of how substance auditing is presented in performance audit reports. Financial Accountability and Management, 35(2), 199-211
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The 'front stage' of substance auditing: A study of how substance auditing is presented in performance audit reports
2019 (English)In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 35, no 2, p. 199-211Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Performance audit is a practice with a potentially high degree of democratic and political relevance. Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have the authority to determine whether the undertakings in central government 'are working'; therefore, SAIs tend to be regarded as important guardians of transparency and 'good' public sector performance. For this purpose, audits of 'substance' are regarded as crucial by both the research community and the INTOSAI. Still, the literature on performance audit concludes that substance audits are rare, although they do exist. One explanation for this is that substance auditing can be a risky endeavour for the auditors, since the lack of generic accounting standards for 'good' public sector performance makes the performance audit reports vulnerable to criticism. The aim of this paper is to contribute to our understanding of substance auditing by detailing the ways in which such audits are presented in performance audit reports. Thus, the paper focuses its analysis on the 'front stage' of substance auditing and finds that the auditors rarely choose to stand on the front stage alone. Instead, they regularly support their authority by relying on other authorities, and when such authorities are lacking, the auditors are reluctant to present judgements in terms of 'good' (or poor) performance. In such cases, this paper suggests that the democratic relevance of the audits can be questioned.

Keywords
economy audit, effectiveness audit, efficiency audit, performance audit, substance audit
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168321 (URN)10.1111/faam.12190 (DOI)000463146400006 ()
Available from: 2019-05-03 Created: 2019-05-03 Last updated: 2022-02-26Bibliographically approved
Catasús, B., Sundström, A., Bay, C. & Svärdsten, F. (2019). The unbearable lightness of imagination- commensurations, calculations and death. In: : . Paper presented at European Accounting Association Conference (EAA), Paphos, Cyrus, 29-31 May, 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The unbearable lightness of imagination- commensurations, calculations and death
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-177016 (URN)
Conference
European Accounting Association Conference (EAA), Paphos, Cyrus, 29-31 May, 2019
Available from: 2019-12-12 Created: 2019-12-12 Last updated: 2022-02-26Bibliographically approved
Eriksson, K., Höglund, L. & Svärdsten, F. (2018). A new performance management and measurement is made to bea helpful intervention. In: : . Paper presented at New Public Sector Seminar (NPS), Doctoral Forum, Edinburgh, Scotland, 8-9 November, 2018.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A new performance management and measurement is made to bea helpful intervention
2018 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article focus on the conditions and reasons why organisational members articulate support for a newly introduced outcome-focused performance measurement and management system (PMS) in a public sector context. It does so through an analysis of the introduction of a performance measurement and management system named “Delivery Qualities” in a Swedish central government. The PMS was introduced by the Swedish government as a solution to societal critic, which initiated a process of handling and processing PMS in the case organisation. We argue that the reasons why members of the case organisation embraced the outcome-focused PMS are because it was not existing PMS. In the case, it is suggested that the outcome-focused PMS was, in essence,providing a more suitable link to ideas and ambition in the organisation.

Keywords
Performance measurement, Performance management, Evolution, Controlling accounting, Interpretive scheme
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161266 (URN)
Conference
New Public Sector Seminar (NPS), Doctoral Forum, Edinburgh, Scotland, 8-9 November, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2022-02-26Bibliographically approved
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