The Use of External Consultants in Budgetrary Work: An Investigation of the Roles and Interactions of Consultants in Accountings Change Projects, within the Danish Defense Agreement of 2018-23, and Underlying Budget Analysis

Max Møller Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis seeks to contribute to the debate on the usage of external business consultants for public sector purposes. Rich literature within the fields of Actor-Network theory and New Institutional Theory describes business consultants as diffusers of private sector practices, which by modern governance standards are sought implemented in the public sector. However, these projects have had controversial effects due to oversights and political meddling, and the arbitrary methods and processes employed by consultants are blamed. They are historically seen as masters of cost-profit evaluation, but now claims that arbitrary analytical benchmarks and attention-directing analysis can make them experts on the costs-benefit analysis implied in public sector budget allocation and analysis.
In this endeavor, this thesis dives into a case-study of a recent politically ordered budget analysis on the Danish Defense Force, which mandated consultants to find 1 bil. dkk in effectivizations without affecting operational capacities. Unlike previous attempts, this inquiry would have the consultants embed internal actors, as to allow their specialized insights to partake in trials of strength with the consultants instigating comparative analyses.
To do this, the theoretical framework is based on Actor-Network Theory, and herein on the theories on the moments of translation with the support of purification. ANT contributes by allowing us to investigate the networks of both the social and natural world, resulting in extracted knowledge on the interactions, redefinitions, reconfigurations and outcomes of both human and non-human inscriptional interaction.
The thesis concludes that certain preexisting biases rendered obstructions to the full mobilization and implementation of the program, as the biases resulted in a program which were structured as to incite the enrollment of internal actors, but then filtered the outputs on skepticism, risks and uncertainties out of the circulation of the final inscription. While certain cultural and structural relations incite to mobilization anyhow, the consultants did not manage to de-politicize their truthclaims as rational.

EducationsMSc in Accounting, Strategy and Control, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages83
SupervisorsPeter Skærbæk