What Is Good Work in a Hybrid Organization? On the Efforts of Sequencing Registers of Valuation

Ida Schrøder*, Emilia Cederberg, Amalie Martinus Hauge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose
This paper investigates how different and sometimes conflicting approaches to performance evaluations are hybridized in the day-to-day activities of a disciplined hybrid organization–i.e. a public child protection agency at the intersection between the market and the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper is based on a one-year ethnography of how employees achieve to qualify their work as “good work” in situations with several and sometimes conflicting ideals of what “good work” is. Fieldwork material was collected by following casework activities across organizational boundaries. By combining accounting literature on hybridization with literature on practices of valuation, the paper develops a novel theoretical framework which allows for analyses of the various practices of valuation, when and where they clash and how they persist over time in everyday work.

Findings
Throughout the study, four distinct registers of valuation were identified: feeling, theorizing, formalizing and costing. To denote the meticulous efforts of pursuing good work in all four registers of valuation, the authors propose the notion of sequencing. Sequencing is an ongoing process of moving conflicting registers away from each other and bringing them back together again. Correspondingly, at the operational level of a hybrid organization, temporary compartmentalization is a means of avoiding clashes, and in doing so, making it possible for different and sometimes conflicting ways of achieving good results to continuously hybridize and persist together.

Research limitations/implications
The single-case approach allows for analytical depth, but limits the findings to theoretical, rather than empirical, generalizability. The framework the authors propose, however, is well-suited for mobilization and potential elaboration in further empirical contexts.

Originality/value
The paper provides a novel theoretical framework as well as rich empirical material from the highly political field of child protection work, which has seldomly been studied within accounting research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Number of pages33
ISSN1368-0668
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 22 June 2021.

Keywords

  • Ethnography
  • Social services
  • Hybridization
  • Performance evaluation
  • Valuation practices

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