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Boundary Spanners and Calculative Practices

Guven-Uslu, Pinar and Blaber, Zlatinka and Adhikari, Pawan (2020) 'Boundary Spanners and Calculative Practices.' Financial Accountability and Management, 36 (4). pp. 439-460. ISSN 0267-4424

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This paper questions to what extent particular calculative practices used for inter organisational decision-making help or hinder boundary spanners meet performativity ideals. It uses programmatic rationalities of government as a framework to study reciprocity between them and the conditions of performativity. Empirical data was collected from health care commissioning spaces of English NHS. Data triangulation was achieved through documentary analysis, data collected through interviews, and observation notes taken in local commissioning meetings and national conferences. Findings revealed an apparent lack of reciprocity between programmatic rationality and calculative practices surrounding the commissioning activities of boundary spanners. As a consequence, in local commissioning situations boundary spanners with formal roles used calculative practices differently than semi-formal boundary spanners. Unlike their formal counterparts, who used only accounting information in their calculative practices, semi-formal boundary spanners incorporated non-accounting information and devised alternative calculative practices. In addition, while formal boundary spanners on NHS Committees used calculative practices in maintaining clear boundaries between commissioning and provider organisations, semi-formal boundary spanners observed made use of the data of both parties in order to reach inter organisational decisions. The study has three main contributions. First, it differentiates boundary spanners and explains differences in their interaction with calculative practices. Second, it introduces the concept of reciprocity to inter-organisational studies in accounting. Third, it shows how conditions of performativity reflected in micro settings influenced how semi-formal boundary spanners used calculative practices (and other supplementary information) to achieve performance ideals of government programmes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: boundary spanners; calculative practices; commissioning; healthcare; inter‐organisational; decision‐making
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2020 16:05
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:16

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