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The implementation and use of benchmarking in local government: A case study of the translation of a management accounting innovation
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Karlstad Business School.
2014 (English)In: Financial Accountability and Management, ISSN 0267-4424, E-ISSN 1468-0408, Vol. 30, no 2, 121-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Benchmarking is a management accounting innovation (MAI) that can be used for performance measurement and management in both the private and the public sectors. Although public sector accounting researchers have reported some success with the use of benchmarking, it is frequently charged problems exist in implementing and using this management technique. To look beyond the technical and institutional explanations, this paper takes a translation approach and presents a case study of a local government benchmarking network. We conclude that there is a link between benchmarking implementation problems and initiators’ failure to build a strong network of benchmarking allies. Implementation is facilitated if actors other than the initiators recognize the possibility of making benchmarking more relevant and less cost focused. However, even when a network of actors has a favourable attitude towards benchmarking, benchmarking may still appear as an unruly ‘actant’. Furthermore, the perception of implementation failure and success is heterogeneous and connected to various actors’ adoption of benchmarking. We also conclude that there is a connection between the use of benchmarking and 1) actors’ possibilities to use benchmarking in the struggle for resources and 2) the perception of benchmarking information as ‘factual’ or ‘factual enough’. However, the perception of benchmarking information as ‘factual’ or ‘factual enough’ seems not only a matter of correct or incorrect ratios but also of whether such information serves actors’ interests. A final conclusion is that the use of benchmarking increases when actors other than the initiators complement the original idea and ‘counter interest’ the initiators.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. Vol. 30, no 2, 121-149 p.
Keyword [en]
Benchmarking, management accounting innovation, public sector, local government, translation, use, implementation
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-16168DOI: 10.1111/faam.12031OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-16168DiVA: diva2:576341
Available from: 2012-12-12 Created: 2012-12-12 Last updated: 2017-06-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • 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