We live in a society that has become organized around audit, but where auditing processes and their consequences have not properly been integrated into our thinking about governance and democracy. This is problematic since auditing is likely to have significant ramifications on state performance and state legitimacy. The overall aim of this project is to develop an understanding of how auditing has been organized in the Swedish state and the consequences of this institutional development on democracy and governance. The project draws on, and integrates, two theoretical traditions: institutional organization theory and historical institutionalism.

Crucial to our research design are comparisons across policy fields and a longitudinal approach. We will conduct a series of careful empirical studies on the organizing of auditing as well as in-depth studies on auditing practices in six different policy fields. We will also compare field-specific developments with administrative reform in general. A comparison of administrative reform in Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, focusing on how the institutionalization of auditing is related to governing ambitions in these three countries, will also be conducted. The project is multidisciplinary, and involves scholars from political science, business administration and organization theory.

The project is a cooperation between the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University (Göran Sundström, project leader), The Academy of Public Administration at Södertörns högskola ( Bengt Jacobsson, project leader) and the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg (Jon Pierre, project leader).

Contact: Göran Sundström.