Making Sense of Cost-Consciousness in Social Work

Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2020 Last revised: 3 Jan 2021

See all articles by Per Nikolaj Bukh

Per Nikolaj Bukh

Aalborg University - Department of Business and Management

Karina Skovvang Christensen

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics

Anne Kirstine Svanholt

Aalborg University - Department of Business and Management

Date Written: October 29, 2020

Abstract

Purpose - This paper explores how the introduction of new accounting information influences understandings of cost-consciousness. Furthermore, the paper explores how managers use accounting information to shape organizational members’ understanding of changes, and how focusing on cost-consciousness influence professional culture within social services
.
Design/methodology/approach -The paper is based on a case study, drawing on sense-making as a theoretical lens. Top management, middle management, and staff specialists at a medium-sized Danish municipality are interviewed.

Findings - The paper demonstrates how accounting metaphors can be effective in linking cost information and cost-consciousness to operational decisions in daily work practices. Further, the study elucidates how professionalism may be strengthened based on the use of accounting information.

Research limitations/implications - The study is context-specific, and the role of accounting in professional work varies on the basis of the specific techniques involved.

Practical implications - The paper shows how managers influence how professionals interpret and use accounting information. It shows how cost-consciousness can be integrated with social work practices to improve service quality.

Originality/value - The paper contributes to the literature on how accounting information influence social work. To date, only few papers have focused on how cost-consciousness can be understood in practice and how it influences professional culture. Further, the study expands the limited accounting metaphor research.

Keywords: Budgeting, Sense-Making, Management Accounting, Metaphors, Public Sector, Social Services, Cost-Consciousness

JEL Classification: M4

Suggested Citation

Bukh, Per Nikolaj and Christensen, Karina Skovvang and Svanholt, Anne Kirstine, Making Sense of Cost-Consciousness in Social Work (October 29, 2020). Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3721062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3721062

Per Nikolaj Bukh (Contact Author)

Aalborg University - Department of Business and Management ( email )

Aalborg, DK-9220
Denmark

Karina Skovvang Christensen

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, 8210
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://pure.au.dk/portal/da/kschristensen@econ.au.dk

Anne Kirstine Svanholt

Aalborg University - Department of Business and Management ( email )

Aalborg, DK-9220
Denmark

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