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Public sector auditor identities in making efficiency auditable: The National Audit Office of Denmark as independent auditor and modernizer

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  • Skærbæk, Peter

Abstract

This paper examines how the National Audit Office of Denmark (NAOD) manoeuvred in making the Danish military receptive to a performance-accountability project in the period 1990-2007. Evidence is provided from a detailed case study, where the actions of the auditors have been followed in their efforts to make the military activities auditable by focusing on the multiple and dynamic interactions between them, the auditee and others. This study contributes to our understanding of how auditors manoeuvre with their performance audit devices in different ways to make efficiency auditable. It appears that as the auditee initiated the implementation of a new accounting system called DeMars a stream of overflows threatened to destabilise it. Groups within the auditee were eager to put heat into the overflowing. This study illuminates how the auditors, equipped with their devices of purification in the later stages of the project, helped at least provisionally to contain the overflows and stabilize the construction. Due to such different manoeuvres by the auditors, this paper demonstrates the problems that emerge when state auditors manoeuvre in performance auditing with identities both as 'modernizers', i.e., participating in providing the reasons for change and defining its designs and as 'independent auditors', i.e., to legitimize the construction in which they participated themselves. Many allies to the auditors worked hard in protecting the NAOD as the two identities conflicted with each other during the execution of the project.

Suggested Citation

  • Skærbæk, Peter, 2009. "Public sector auditor identities in making efficiency auditable: The National Audit Office of Denmark as independent auditor and modernizer," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 971-987, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:34:y:2009:i:8:p:971-987
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Guénin-Paracini, Henri & Malsch, Bertrand & Paillé, Anne Marché, 2014. "Fear and risk in the audit process," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 264-288.
    2. Vassili Joannides & Nicolas Berland & D. T. Wickramasinghe, 2010. "Post-Hofstede diversity/cultural studies: what contributions to accounting knowledge?," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00676570, HAL.
    3. Lise Justesen & Jan Mouritsen, 2011. "Effects of actor-network theory in accounting research," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(2), pages 161-193, February.

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