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Transforming social sector auditing - they audited more, but scrutinized less

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Gustaf Kastberg
Emma Ek Österberg
Publicerad i Financial Accountability & Management
Volym 33
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 284-298
ISSN 0267-4424
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Förvaltningshögskolan
Sidor 284-298
Språk English
Länkar doi.org/10.1111/faam.12122
Ämnesord performance auditing, social sector, transformation, independence, efficiency, Business & Economics, ller p, 1990, economy and societycolloquium on language and politics, dec, 1988, helsinki, finland, v19, p1
Ämneskategorier Ekonomi och näringsliv


The legitimacy of audit technologies is inevitably linked to a knowledge base. Even though it has been pointed out that the agreements on how to measure and verify certain operations are only temporal, empirical studies on change in audit are rare. This paper reports a detailed empirical study of change in performance audit within social services in Sweden. The paper complements previous research since this paper is not about making new things auditable but about challenging existing technologies within a field. We observe how the new 'sharp' control-based model - realized through measures of prioritizing, focusing and standardizing - was related to new demands on 'facts' about the audit object. The effect was that many things in this new situation became unauditable; they audited more, but actually scrutinized less. The paper also contributes to existing literature on the role of 'sharp' control-based audit in the social sector. With a 'soft' and 'fuzzy' object, as is often the case in many parts of the public sector, it is difficult to produce hard, convincing evidence that holds true in different settings.

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