Assembling Homo Qualitus: Accounting for Quality in the UK National Health Service

Dane Pflueger*, Kirstine Zinck Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper describes the historical emergence of an accountable quality in public policies and reforms of the UK National Health Service: that is a notion of quality which is expressed through accounting and other formal measurement and management devices. It also specifies the idealized subject of an accountable quality, homo qualitus, and attends to instances of his/her incomplete realization. Doing so contributes to the problematization and rethinking of the way that accounting, professionalism, and the relationship between the two, are often understood. It shows that an accountable quality involves attempts to transform accounting from something external to, and imposed upon, or selectively adopted by, medical professionals into a measure of, in principle, any healthcare workers’ individual enthusiasm for, and commitment toward, quality itself. The incomplete nature of this transformation offers insights into complex ways in which discourse and practice may interact.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)875-902
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 1 March 2022.


  • Healthcare
  • Quality
  • Professionalism
  • Affect
  • New Public Management

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