Contracting out municipal
accounting: the role of
School of Economics, University of Turku, Pori, Finland
Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Oulu,
Oulu, Finland, and
School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
School of Business and Economics, Jyva
Purpose – This paper aims to explore the emergence of accounting shared service centers (SSCs) in
the municipal sector.
Design/methodology/approach – The theoretical framework of this interpretative study draws on
institutional entrepreneurship that highlights the importance of actors and agency for institutions and
Findings – The paper ﬁnds that institutional entrepreneurs operate on many institutional levels
simultaneously. On the organizational ﬁeld level they must ﬁnd groups of actors with whom they
share interests. At the organizational level the institutional entrepreneurs must ﬁnd and recognize
critical audiences that are receptive to their agenda.
Research limitations/implications – The authors’ data comprise interviews and archival data;
they were not present to observe the institutional entrepreneurs in action.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to the accounting literature by investigating institutional
entrepreneurship at the organizational ﬁeld level, which has not been much empirically researched.
Keywords Accounting shared service center, Local government, Institutional theory, Active agency,
Institutional entrepreneurship, Accounting, Organizations, Entrepreneurialism
Paper type Research paper
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The authors would like to thank Wai Fong Chua, Robert Scapens, the participants of the
MCA/ENROAC/MACORG 7th International Management Control Research Conference, Paris
(September 2007), the 5th EIASM Conference on New Directions in Management Accounting,
Brussels (December 2008) and the 32nd EAA Annual Congress, Tampere (May 2009), and the
two reviewers and the Editor of the journal for their useful and constructive comments on earlier
versions of the paper. Financial support was provided by the Foundation for Economic
& Accountability Journal
Vol. 25 No. 6, 2012
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited