The sixth 2014-2015 meeting of CBS's Markets and Valuation Cluster
On Wednesday February 18 the sixth 2014-2015 meeting of the PP Platform's Markets & Valuation Cluster will take place. This time it will be in joint collaboration with CASPRO (Center for Advanced Studies on Project Management at CBS). On this meeting the process of outsourcing parts of the Danish Armed Forces will be discussed and how this has involved accounting. Peter Skærbæk and Kjell Tryggestad will present and discuss their work-in-progress (co-authored with Mark Christensen) ‘Accounting inscriptions in outsourcing trials of strength: time-space dynamics’.
Public sector outsourcing is a program within a suite of contemporary NPM reforms mobilizing private enterprises in the belief of a more efficient public sector. Danish Armed Forces outsourcing of its facility services and management emerged as an option in 1991. Two strategic options developed; one promoted immediate outsourcing while the other promoted internal optimization first. We study how the two options emerged and were valued differently by the supra-national outsourcing program and the local Defense projects over 22 years and how that valuation process involved accounting. Drawing on Actor-Network Theory we show how the two strategic options emerged and were pitted against each other in what Callon describes as in vivo and in vitro ‘trials of strength’. The contribution of the paper is in three actions: 1. highlights how accounting inscriptions take part in formulating, evaluating and advancing different outsourcing strategies during a series of trials of strength, 2. develops the concept of ‘trial of strength’ for accounting and organizational research by showing how ‘the rules of the game’ for the trials of strength can become challenged and become an output together with the “winner”, and finally 3. shows that, in addition to the pervasive role of programs, projects as subprograms can play a strategic role in becoming anti-programs and they can add the dynamics of time and space dimensions of outsourcing.
The seminar is free and open for participation, but it is expected that participants have read the circulated material. To attend, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the readings.