From inception to inertia

an institutional perspective of a public accountability measure

Ted Watts, C. J. McNair, Vicki Baard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper uses neo-institutional theory to exzmine the rise and fall of performance indicators adopted as an element of public accountability by Australian universities. We argue that performance indicators were adopted as a symbolic gesture to satisfy the need for externally conferred legitimacy and to demonstrate accountaiblity to various stakeholders through publication in the university's annual report. Also, because adoption was symbolic and universities were coereced by the Australian Federal Government, the rporting was curtailed when the coercive pressures were relxed or removed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-28
Number of pages23
JournalAustralasian Accounting, Business and Finance Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • accountability
  • performance indicators
  • new public management
  • institutional theory

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