Do environmental and task characteristics matter in the control of externalized local public services? Unveiling the relevance of party characteristics and citizens’ offstage voice

Daniela Cristofoli, Angelo Ditillo, Mariannunziata Liguori, Mariafrancesca Sicilia, Ileana Steccolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mechanisms adopted by cities to control the provision of externalized public services and to explore the determinants of such control choices.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents the results of a multiple case study based on the experiences of three cities and three public services (transport, solid waste collection and home care services for the elderly), where control mechanisms and their possible antecedents were analyzed.

Findings: The results show that the control models found in the cases analyzed do not correspond to the "pure" patterns described in the private sector literature and that the factors identified by management control contributions do not seem to be exhaustive in explaining the configuration of control systems in the public sector. While environmental and task characteristics only partially explain the adoption of certain configurations of control, the features of the control systems seem to be rather influenced by variables that are related to party characteristics.

Originality/value: The paper shows that the combinations of control mechanisms are more multifaceted than those presented in the literature, and that the factors identified in the private sector literature do not seem to explain comprehensively the configuration of control systems in the public sector. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-372
Number of pages23
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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