Individual responses to competing accountability pressures in hybrid organisations: the case of an English business school

Florian Gebreiter, Nunung Nurul Hidayah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine conflicting institutional demands on individual frontline employees in hybrid public sector organisations. Specifically, it examines the competing accountability pressures professional and commercial logics exerted on academics at a business school, how individual lecturers responded to such pressures, and what drove these responses.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on a case study of an English business school and is informed by the literatures on institutional logics and hybrid organisations.

Findings – The paper shows that the co-existence of professional and commercial logics at the case organisation exerted competing accountability pressures on lecturers. It moreover shows that sometimes deliberately and purposefully, sometimes ad hoc or even coincidentally, lecturers drew on a wide range of responses to these conflicting pressures, including compliance, defiance, combination and compartmentalisation.

Originality/value – The paper sheds light on individual level responses to competing institutional logics and associated accountability pressures, as well as on their drivers. It also highlights the drawbacks of user, customer or citizen accountability mechanisms, showing that a strong emphasis on them in knowledge intensive public organisations can have severe dysfunctional effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-749
Number of pages23
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019


  • Higher education
  • New public management
  • Institutional logics
  • Hybrid organization
  • Customer accountability
  • Hybrid accountability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual responses to competing accountability pressures in hybrid organisations: the case of an English business school'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this