Competing institutional logics in the use and development of performance indicators between hierarchical levels in Dutch municipalities

Activity: Lecture / Presentation › Academic


Recent changes in public sector accounting were central to the rise of New Public Management and its associated doctrines of public accountability. Management accounting researchers have paid increasing attention to the design and implementation of performance measurement management (PMM) systems whereby several rational-choice arguments as well as institutional factors have been
examined. However, this distinction might be too simplistic and a broader defined institutional logic may better explain the PMM practices. We investigate the institutional logics at several hierarchical levels in the Dutch municipal setting, including political levels as well as bureaucratic levels. We examine the effects of institutional logics on PMM practices and how municipalities cope with competing institutional logics between the political and bureaucratic level.
Data of this study are derived from in total 24 interviews with decision makers at several hierarchical levels in Dutch municipalities between July 2008 and January 2010 as well as from several documents like the municipalities’ main budget. We show varying efforts regarding the development of performance indicators among municipalities. At the political level, interviewees experience mainly conceptual difficulties in developing indicators, whereas at the bureaucratic level, these difficulties are mainly operational. We observe greater use of performance indicators for steering the organization than for accountability purposes. Furthermore, the use at the bureaucratic level is greater than at the political level. We elaborate on the influence of institutional logics on the PMM practices. In case of competing institutional logics between hierarchical levels, we show loose coupling in order to cope with these tensions.
Period2 Sept 2013
Event titleCIGAR conference
Event typeConference