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How numbers of the future are shaping today: The role of forecasts and calculations in public sector strategic thinking

Journal article
Authors Sara Brorström
Published in Financial Accountability and Management
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 17–29
ISSN 0267-4424
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Business Administration
Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 17–29
Language en
Subject categories Economics and Business, Political Science


This article examines the role of numbers in forming a city strategy in the case of Gothenburg, Sweden. The article illustrates how numbers make people act and react and shape the strategy process. The study is situated between the theoretical fields of accounting and strategy processes in cities. By relating them to the concept of ‘governmentality’, numbers are seen as helping render the city governable. Because strategizing is seen as concerning the future, the actors involved in drafting the strategy feel free to challenge historically institutionalized practices. The effect is paradoxical: the future-looking strategy process becomes a forum for solving current problems.

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