CRAFiC Research Seminar: The complementarity development of control practices in health-care project financing with Professor Enrico Bracci

This seminar is hosted by the Centre for Research into Accounting and Finance in Context (CRAFiC) at Sheffield University Management School.


Enrico Bracci is associate professor in management accounting, and Vice-Director, at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara (Italy). His main research interests deal with management accounting, performance management and the effects of NPM reforms in public services. He publishes regularly in international leading journals such as The British Accounting Review, Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal, Financial Accountability and Management, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, and Public Money and Management. He is member of the special interest group (SIG) on Accounting and Accountability of the IRSPM, organising panels at the annual conferences and dealing with the communication of the SIG. He is member of the editorial board of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal and the Journal of Public Budgeting and Financial Management.


The aim of this paper is to investigate the complementarity in developing control practices in the context of a health-care project finance (PF). In particular, we analyse the complementarity among control practices in the post-procurement phase of PFs. This paper adopts a “middle-range” approach (Laughlin, 1995) in analysing the research question, we draw on management control concept of complementarity/substitution (Milgrom and Roberts, 1995; Grabner and Moers, 2013; Friis, Hansen and Vámosi, 2015), and position practice theory (Stone, 2005). The conceptual frame offered by complementarity theory is adopted to help in analysing the process of development of control practices in the post-construction phase of a PFI. Even though the existing research already provide support to the relevance of complementarity in management control systems (Grabner and Moers, 2013; Friis et al., 2015), it seems to neglect the role of agents in its unfolding. Therefore, we also draw on position practice theory considering that agents are not passive executors in the development of practices; on the contrary, according to their position in a given environment they (un)reflectively perform the actions that comprise a given practice (Schatzki, 2005; Stones, 2005) contributing to its stability or change. The role of organisational actors and the way they interact within practices with other humans and material arrangements is crucial for understanding the evolving nature of control systems. Of particular interest in this paper is the understanding of how PF-related control practices become complementary and the role played by agents within their field of activity (Stones, 2005; Ahrens and Chapman, 2007; Coad and Glyptis, 2014).

This paper proposes a need for understanding complementarity as a process, given that control systems result from a constant flux of interdependencies. The paper also demonstrates how the complementarity concept can be operationalised in practice, and proposes four configurations. The complementarity of control practices requires the volition of the actors deploying a multidimensional knowledge approach. This is a particularly relevant issue in a health-care organisation, where interdependencies among control practices involve the contribution of different professions and expertise. The paper also provides some preliminary empirical evidence on the under-investigated topic of control practices in the post-procurement phases of PFs.

 Keywords: control practice, complementarity configurations, hybrid, health-care trusts, project finance


  • 13.30 - 14.00 A light lunch will be served in the Courtyard Cafe (C Floor)

  • 14.00 - 15.00 Seminar takes place in Exec Suite 3 (D Floor)

Event Details

When: October 30, 2019 at 1:30pm—3:00pm

Where: Conduit Road, Sheffield, S10 1FL

Type: Alumni, Student, Business

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