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Value for money and the rule of law: the (new)performance audit in Sweden
Stockholm University.
Stockholm University.
Mittuniversitetet, Mid Sweden University.
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Public Sector Management, ISSN 0951-3558, E-ISSN 1758-6666, Vol. 24, no 2, 107-121 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – This paper aims to develop a classification scheme of different types of value for money(VFM) audits with different degrees of compliance audit, and to classify the performance audits carriedout by the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) during its first six years as an independent stateaudit organization reporting to parliament.

Design/methodology/approach – The empirical data were gathered from all of the 150 auditreports published by the SNAO from its establishment in 2003 to the end of 2008. Seminars werearranged to discuss the classifications for validation.

Findings – The focus on traditional VFM audits (the “Three Es”) is unusual. Most audits carried outby the SNAO combine different types of extended VFM audits with compliance audit. On the onehand, they audit how the government and/or central agencies fulfil their mandates (from good to bad).On the other, they audit how the government and/or central agencies adhere to legislation, rules andpolicies (right or wrong). In some cases, the SNAO equates compliance audit with performance audit.

Practical implications – The authors have verbalised and visualised performance audit activities of interest not only to state auditors, but also to external stakeholders. One practical implication is thatthe Swedish national audit committee has conducted an evaluation of the SNAO that is partly based onthe national report of this study, and has proposed a stronger focus on the Three Es.

Originality/value – The study addresses a new approach in terms of a classification scheme forperformance audits, consisting of eight types.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011. Vol. 24, no 2, 107-121 p.
Keyword [en]
Performance measures, Auditing, Value analysis, Sweden, Public sector organizations
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83417DOI: 10.1108/09513551111109026OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83417DiVA: diva2:575676
Available from: 2012-12-11 Created: 2012-12-11 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Constituting performance: Case studies of performance auditing and performance reporting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Constituting performance: Case studies of performance auditing and performance reporting
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to problematize how and under what conditions organizational performance is constituted in the practices of performance auditing and accounting. Organizational performance disclosure is a world-wide phenomenon for enabling accountability relationships in large organizations regardless of the societal sector they operate in. In constitutive accounting literature, there is a well-established notion that accounting and performance auditing enable “government at a distance” by representing organizational actions and results of those actions, i.e. by constituting performance.  Accounting and performance auditing have been regarded as “technologies of government” that make government from spatial and temporal distances possible by linking political and programmatic ambitions, i.e., the will of a superior, to everyday organizational conduct. However, whereas many previous studies of accounting and performance auditing as technologies of government focus on the discourses over the technologies of accounting and performance auditing, this thesis focuses its analysis on the operationalization of these technologies in local organizational settings. By studying the constitution of performance in the practices of accounting and performance auditing this thesis contributes by problematizing that which supposedly makes government at a distance possible.

The thesis is based on two case studies of performance audit and two case studies of performance reporting. On the basis of these papers, the thesis studies the constitution of performance in performance auditing and accounting. Whereas the constitution of performance may seem stable and unproblematic at the level of discourse, this thesis suggests that constituting performance is a complex process of social construction that requires significant organizational efforts and that the ability of accounting and performance auditing to connect political and programmatic ambitions to daily organizational conduct cannot be taken for granted. The thesis suggest that once we acknowledge that performance is a socially constructed representation of organizational actions and begin to pay attention to how performance is constituted in local organizational settings, we can find new ways of addressing the ongoing challenge of constituting performance in accounting and performance auditing and increase our understanding about the ability of these practices to enable government at a distance. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: School of Business, Stockholm University, 2012. 81 p.
Keyword
Constituting performance, performance measurement, performance management, performance reporting, performance audit, performance standards, audit independence, accounting concepts, output, representation, government at a distance, social construction
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83435 (URN)978-91-7447-615-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-01-18, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Roslagsvägen 101, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of doctoral defence the following papers were unoublished and had a status as follows: Paper nr. 2: Manuscript; Paper nr. 3: Manuscript; Paper nr. 4: Manuscript

Available from: 2012-12-27 Created: 2012-12-11 Last updated: 2012-12-14Bibliographically approved

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