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
Date Written: October 29, 2020
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: Suggested Citation