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Narrowing down accountability through performance monitoring technology : e-government in Greece.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management
Issue number3
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)160-179
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between performance monitoring technology and accountability in electronic government initiatives. Specifically, it aims to investigate how performance monitoring technologies are deployed in electronic government and the consequences that may arise from their implementation on public service accountability.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws upon an in-depth empirical study of several Greek Citizens Service Centres (CSCs). CSCs are a central component of Greece's e-government strategy. Qualitative methods are deployed during fieldwork and data are analysed in line with the social constructionist paradigm.

Findings – Contrary to the mainstream e-government literature, the paper argues that the introduction of performance monitoring technology does not always ensure accountability in the public sector. Overall, it suggests that performance technology may not necessarily lead to a form of accountability that always has the interests of the public at its heart. Instead it argues that it may lead to a narrowing down of accountability and the emergence of an instrumental rationality.

Originality/value – The paper argues that the critical literature on management accounting provides important insights in understanding the consequences of performance monitoring in e-government projects and conceptualising the relationship between performance and accountability.