Public forum and seminars

CPSGAP regularly organises public forums and seminars. If you wish to present at one, contact Prof Zahirul Hoque.

Recent events include:

Conflicting interests but congruent targets: stakeholder and resource dependency analyses at the University of Applied Sciences (UAS)

Aapo Länsiluoto, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences; Business school, Finland Koulukatu 41. 9  June 2011

Abstract

Stakeholder theory (SHT) emphasises that different stakeholders and their interests need to be identified. Stakeholders may cause some challenges to the design of performance measurement systems (PMS) because their interests can be conflicting. PMS might have a large number of different measures if PMS tries to integrate all interests of stakeholders.

The large number of different and sometimes conflicting measures may result difficulties for planning and control the action in a real life. This study investigates if the stakeholders have conflicting interests, does it automatically result large number of different key performance measures in PMS.

We found in our case organisation (University of applied sciences; UAS) that the interests of stakeholders can be conflicting between the groups of stakeholders and even within a group of stakeholder. Contrary to the earlier studies, we found however, that despite conflicting interests of different stakeholders they all considered one (non-financial) measure as the most important.

Therefore, conflicting interests do not automatically lead multiple objectives in PMS.

Auditing and blame games - A field study of the purification of blame avoidance in the Danish Parliamentary system

Peter Skærbæk, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Mark Christensen (presenting author), Southern Cross University, Australia. 18 August 2011

Abstract

Auditing and auditors have for long been involved with processes of blame allocation in terms of special audit cases and management letters. Despite this fact very few studies (like Radcliffe, 1997) have provided detailed empirical accounts on how auditing participate in blame allocation.

This study sets out to study one case of blame allocation in terms of describing and characterising the origins of failure and accidents leading to the need for blame allocation, the institutional entities and arrangements that participate in the blame game, and how these entities, including the supreme audit institution, are mobilised in the processes of blame allocation.

The case is taken from the Danish National Police on a larger reform to decentralise the accounting function. In order to cater for decentralised management control and accounting the previous 74 police districts in a larger fusion was reduced to 12 districts.

This reform ended up a major public scandal and blame game that ended out in the dismissal of the commissioner of police. The National Audit Office of Denmark was involved with purifying the choice of the government and the press to pinpoint a single actor as being responsible for the scandal. In this way the audit institution became part of a strategy of scape-goating (Here drawing on Hood, 2002; 2007) as the strategy to achieve blame avoidance.

In this way the audit office provided purity to blame avoidance and allocation leading to the result that the parliament, the Minister of Justice, consultants, the Ministry of Finance, and others – despite being more or less involved with the failure or accident - avoided being blamed. Instead, some politicians of the Parliament, the press and NAOD were quite eager to blame government officials at various levels of the state administration.

The contribution of the paper is that it shows the mechanisms of what causes scape-goating of particular people to emerge and the role of auditors as experts in such games. It finally shows how a scape-goating process ‘re-boots’ the reform by erasing the produced overflows of its reliant tools and in so doing protects not only the involved actors but also the economic and accounting ideals and rationalities drawn upon in the reform efforts.