Modes of Timing and Spacing Professional Decisions: On the Relationship Between Costing and Caring in Child Protection Work

Ida Schrøder*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Within public sector accounting research, the question of how “costing” is implemented and how it transforms professional “caring” work has been widely studied and debated. Studies have, for instance, pointed to contextual variables that make cost information more or less useful in professional decision making. However, in doing so, scholars also assume that decision making follows a linear path that can be informed and transformed by cost information. In this paper, I take it as my starting point that both costing and caring vary as they are combined in professional decision‐making processes. I use the broad and processual definition of calculation from the work of Callon and Muniesa to analyze how distinctions about vulnerable children's situations are made relevant for the choice and delimitation of social services. This allows me to investigate how, when, and where distinctions between costing and caring are drawn rather than assuming that costing and caring are preexisting and stable practices that can be put to use or not.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)319-336
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 4. July 2019


  • Actor-network theory
  • Caring
  • Costing
  • Professional decisions
  • Social services
  • Spacing
  • Timing

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