The paper wants to highlight some accounting practices that hinder the transparency and comparability of the financial performance of public institutions in the early stage of the adoption of accrual accounting. The research was conducted through document analysis, on-site and telephonic structured interviews to the administrative departments of 14 Italian public universities. The accounting reform was one of the core aspects of a process of enforced hybridization of HE institutions. Exogenous and endogenous (organizational) issues emerge, that undermine transparency and comparability of accounting information. Resistance to change could be observed, resulting in a partial or distorted adoption of the new accounting rules: some practices, in particular, aimed at safeguarding the interests of a particular group. The paper propitiates further research based on case studies aiming at understanding how public organizations tend to design internal accounting procedures that preserve the prerogatives of particular groups within the organization. The paper suggests solutions to improve the quality and comparability of financial information in a public domain. The paper overturns the rhetoric of the adoption of managerial practices for the enhancement of efficiency, effectiveness and economy by showing how organizations shape these practices in order to keep the status quo unchanged.

Grafting new values into public institutions by reforming the accounting system: lessons learned from the Italian Higher Education system

Guido Modugno
Conceptualization
;
2020-01-01

Abstract

The paper wants to highlight some accounting practices that hinder the transparency and comparability of the financial performance of public institutions in the early stage of the adoption of accrual accounting. The research was conducted through document analysis, on-site and telephonic structured interviews to the administrative departments of 14 Italian public universities. The accounting reform was one of the core aspects of a process of enforced hybridization of HE institutions. Exogenous and endogenous (organizational) issues emerge, that undermine transparency and comparability of accounting information. Resistance to change could be observed, resulting in a partial or distorted adoption of the new accounting rules: some practices, in particular, aimed at safeguarding the interests of a particular group. The paper propitiates further research based on case studies aiming at understanding how public organizations tend to design internal accounting procedures that preserve the prerogatives of particular groups within the organization. The paper suggests solutions to improve the quality and comparability of financial information in a public domain. The paper overturns the rhetoric of the adoption of managerial practices for the enhancement of efficiency, effectiveness and economy by showing how organizations shape these practices in order to keep the status quo unchanged.
3-giu-2020
Pubblicato
http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ijbm/article/view/0/42956
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2980580
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