A New Organisation of Public Administration: From Internal to External Control

Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud, Thomas Carrington, Kim Klarskov Jeppesen, Külli Taro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Since the 1970s the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) have gradually expanded their role as external controllers of the public administration. Instead of merely controlling whether accounts are according to standards they have taken on a role as evaluators with a mandate to assess whether the public administration works economically, efficiently and effectively. With this new regime of external control, the question arises whether the SAIs’ control, in practice, contributes to a more efficient and effective public sector. Whether this external control will be effective depends, in the end, on the extent to which the organisations learn from the control they are subjected to and make actual changes. The chapter uses theories of cultural differences and theories on control within public administration to understand civil servant perceptions of SAI results. Data on civil servants’ reactions to the SAIs’ performance audit in four countries are analysed to see whether performance audits have any impact on the audited entities. The research is based on 696 responses to questionnaires sent out to civil servants in three different Nordic countries plus one new democracy in northern Europe, Estonia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBureaucracy and Society in Transition
EditorsHaldor Byrkjeflot, Fredrik Engelstad
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9781787432840
ISBN (Electronic)9781787432833, 9781787439221
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Double loop learning
  • Supreme audit institution
  • Control
  • Organisational learning
  • Accountability
  • Comparative public administration
  • New Public Management
  • Public organization

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