Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
What is good performance? Performing independent performance auditing
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper reports from a study of how performance is stabilized by the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) in its audit reports. The paper builds on all the 206 reports published by the SNAO from its inauguration in 2003 until 2010 and analyzes the (28) audit of substance reports (Pollitt, Girre et al. 1999). By investigating the ways in which the SNAO makes it possible to answer the question of what constitutes good performance in the public sector, the paper suggests that the audit institution operates in three phases. In phase one, the SNAO must address the controversial task of defining performance. In phase two, this definition is tested by obtaining for creating evidence. In the third phase, the auditors mobilize benchmarks as a means to argue for good (or poor) performance. Unlike the arguments posed by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions about using common sense to evaluate good performance, SNAO audit reports include arguments about what is “good” that emanate from other actors. The analysis of the paper builds on some analytical tools from Actor Network Theory. Specifically, the idea of a linguistic actor is developed and used as a means to show how the concept of “independence” helps the audit institution to become Mr. Somebody but impedes the possibilities of producing an answer to the question to what constitutes good performance. 

Keyword [en]
Audit, performance, audit independence
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83421OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83421DiVA: diva2:575720
Conference
EAA Annual Congress 2013
Available from: 2012-12-11 Created: 2012-12-11 Last updated: 2016-05-06Bibliographically 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

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Svärdsten Nymans, FredrikCatasús, Bino
By organisation
Stockholm Business School
Business Administration

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 391 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf