Risk-Based Management Control in the Public Sector: A Live Experiment in Poland
16 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2011 Last revised: 13 Jan 2012
Date Written: November 30, 2011
Management control systems play a significant role in New Public Management reforms. This paper presents the case of Poland, where a small group of enthusiasts at the Ministry of Finance is attempting to enforce dramatic changes in control systems across the public sector. The changes are both technical and cultural. The new system is called 'management control' as opposed to 'internal financial control'. It is based on risk assessment and management, modeled on the British HM Treasury Orange Book standard. Moreover, the main sponsors of the new systems are internal auditors, a new professional group that is being developed since 2001 as an opposition to traditional control structures. The actor-network theory literature in management control systems predicts that the adoption of this innovation is contingent upon the sponsors ability to stimulate the translation process and to recruit allies who would support it. We document the developments of the reform to date and contribute two empirical studies: a survey of first reactions to the new system and a risk perception study. Both studies show that neither problematization nor interessment can be taken for granted. However, the new system has been embedded in national public finance law, which means that at least formally, it will persist. We discuss the potential for future research in the context presented.
Keywords: risk, change, actors
JEL Classification: M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation