When Hybridizations take over: The fate of Public Sector Accounting

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The keynote speech of Giuseppe Grossi will focus on how the boundaries of Public Sector Accounting have become unstable due to ongoing changes in the public sector. Previous inter-disciplinary accounting studies have shown how the transition from New Public Management (NPM) to New Public Governance (NPG) has affected the boundaries of public sector organizations (Broadbent & Guthrie, 2008; Almqvist et al., 2013).

Within the NPM paradigm, public governance focuses on intra-organizational relationships, “performance based accountability” of results (outputs) of single organizations, and hierarchical (vertical) forms of results control. Also auditing, accounting and external reporting are confined to the boundaries of single organizations. NPG, instead, expands the boundaries of single organizations and celebrates (or condemns) “hybridization”. It entails a focus on inter-organizational relationships and engagement of diverse stakeholders. Scholarly attention shifts to “complex accountability” frameworks (Parker & Gould, 1999) and “horizontal” (lateral) forms of control of networks including the government(s) and external actors with multiple interests, values, and logics (Kurunmäki & Miller, 2006). In this hybrid context, there is a need for new enabling new forms of control based on dialogue-driven systems of performance, budgeting and accounting tools (Brown et al., 2015).

Giuseppe Grossi will discuss the need to constantly re-define and re-assess the role of “accounting for public governance” by recognizing the interdependence between different actors (Grossi & Steccolini, 2014). He will present a conceptual model that explores how Public Sector Accounting is changing as “hybridizations take over” with new forms of network-, democratic- and smart-governance. He will focus on these ongoing changes by emphasizing the uncertain “fate of Public Sector Accounting”.

Giuseppe will conclude his speech by presenting a future research agenda. There is a urgent need for further inter-disciplinary accounting studies on the role of individual actors in implementing and using diverse accounting practices (Lounsbury, 2008; Smets et al., 2017; Argento et al., 2018), and their ambiguities (Vakkuri, 2010). New “revelations” are needed on how hybridizations and other emerging paradigms (as “public value”) are influencing Public Sector Accounting issues in a period of technological innovations (i.e. smart cities, digitalization) characterized by risks and uncertainties (i.e. migration, populism, crises, austerity, natural disasters, corruption, etc.) (Grossi et al., 2019).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019-Jul-03


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