Guest EditorsAssociate Professor Elin Funck, Linnaeus University, firstname.lastname@example.org Professor Kirsi-Mari Kallio, University of Turku and Linnaeus University, email@example.com(corresponding editor)Professor Tomi J. Kallio, University of Turku and Linnaeus University, firstname.lastname@example.org
BackgroundAcross the past three decades, numbers, particularly those that can be expressed in financial terms, have become bestowed with a form of truth. In today's society numbers guide and govern us, shape and influence who we are, or who we should try to become (Kurunmäki, Mennicken & Miller, 2016). A few decades ago, this quantifying bandwagon was more restricted to a few practices. Today it appears as if no one can escape it. The so-called audit culture (Shore & Wright, 2015a) or audit explosion (Power, 2003) has spread the technologies of financial accounting into new systems of measuring and ranking organizations and their employees so that quantification and statistics serve for instruments of governance and power (Shore & Wright, 2015b). More recently, the quality and quality assurance (QA) of operations and services, rankings of service providers, and different excellence frameworks in public organizations have received increasing attention (see e.g., Ahrens & Khalifa, 2015). At the pace of the rise of the aforementioned systems of auditing and rankings, also a vast number of international firms specializing in accountancy and statistical ratings have emerged (Shore and Wright, 2015a). These agencies measure the creditworthiness of countries and organizations (ibid).
The external control and monitoring of activities are taken up by administrative structures in public services or organizations and verified through standardized measures and instruments. Some authors have argued that such quantified criteria of valuation result in the over-valorization of quantity over quality (Kallio & Kallio, 2014; Olssen & Peters, 2005) or that evaluations become constrained by standardized scores based upon rankings and ratings (Lane, 2010). According to Sauder and Espeland, (2009: 80), "Rankings are part of a global movement that is redefining accountability, transparency, and good governance in terms of quantitative measures ... they diminish the salience of local knowledge and professional autonomy, they absorb vast resources, and they insinuate and extend market logic". Muller (2018: 3) continues that "there are things that can be measured. There are things that are worth measuring. But what can be measured is not always what is worth measuring … The things that get measured may draw efforts away from the things we really care about. And measurement may provide us with distorted knowledge."Challenged by Sauder and Espeland (2009) and Muller (2018), in this special issue we want to focus on the effects and consequences of the age of rankings, quality assurance, accreditation as well as excellence frameworks in public services and organizations. Since public sector organizations are typically not directly subject to the market mechanism, it is far from easy to determine what quality means for public sector organizations in general and for knowledge-intensive public organizations in particular.
Topics for submissionRegardless of the difficulty to define what quality is let alone measure it in knowledge-intensive public organizations, different kind of performance measurement (PM) and QA tools have been actively developed and implemented (see e.g., Hassan, 2005; Hutaibat, von Alberti-Alhtaybat & Al-Htaybat, 2011; Kattan, Pike & Tayles, 2002; Kallio, Kallio & Blomberg, 2020; Upping & Oliver, 2012;). As a consequence, knowledge-intensive public organizations such as universities and research institutions, hospitals and other healthcare organizations, schools, military and police forces, as well as cultural institutions have faced a new type of pressures to define and measure quality and report it. The avalanche of numbers may, however, be justified in terms of economizing, marketizing or democratizing (Kurunmäki, Mennicken & Miller, 2016), indicating different uses. This special issue is interested in fostering the understanding concerning what quality means in knowledge-intensive public organizations and how QA and quality reporting affect to these organizations and the knowledge work conducted in them. Relevant research topics for the special issue include but are not limited to the following questions:
Schedule and Submissions
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