The interdependencies of intra- and inter-organisational controls and work practices-The case of domestic care of the elderly

Martin Carlsson-Wall, Kalle Kraus, Johnny Lind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The paper gives a grounded account of inter-organisational controls and work practices in the public sector to compl)ement previous literature's strong focus on inter-organisational customer-supplier relationships in the private sector. We draw theoretically on Hopwood's (1974) administrative, social and self controls, which enable us to analyse the influence of non-managerial controls on behaviour. Empirically, a case study of inter-organisational cooperation between home help units and health centres is used as the basis of analysis. Most inter-organisational controls were developed locally and involved a mix of administrative, social and self controls. Intra- and inter-organisational social and self controls were important forms of control which impacted on intra- and inter-organisational work practices and we see the need for a broad conceptualisation of control (Van der Meer-Kooistra and Scapens, 2008). Inter-organisational social controls created an informal hierarchy that by-passed the formal hierarchies of the two organisations. Self controls reinforced the importance of being flexible to accommodate pensioner's wishes and needs in specific care situations. We also show the importance of the internal financial situation of home help units for the analysis of the interdependencies of intra- and inter-organisational controls and work practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-329
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Financial crisis
  • Inter-organisational control
  • Public sector
  • Self controls
  • Social controls

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