Configuring Value Conflicts in Markets

Configuring Value Conflicts in Markets

Edited by Susanna Alexius and Kristina Tamm Hallström

Based on fourteen empirical case studies, this far-reaching book explains why and how markets are organized, through examining the role of values and value work in markets.

Chapter 2: Accounting for values in prison privatization

Andrea Mennicken

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


This chapter studies values and risks at stake in prison privatization. In so doing, the intention is not to provide yet another study on the pros and cons of prison privatization. Several detailed and valuable studies have already been carried out in this respect, with mixed results (see for example Gaes et al. 2004; Harding 1997; James et al. 1997; Logan 1990; Moyle 2000; NAO 2003). Instead, the chapter investigates the organizational processes and calculative instruments by which different, potentially conflicting values and rationalities are mediated and dealt with. It examines the roles that seemingly mundane and apolitical accounting instruments, in particular instruments of prison rating and performance measurement, play in the organization and management of value complexity in prison privatization. Focusing on the case of prison privatization in England and Wales, during the years before the first private prison was opened in 1992 and the years that followed, the chapter explores processes of value reconfigurations through the lens of changed accounting practices. It examines the extent to which accounting instruments can play the role of a 'mediating instrument' (Miller and O'Leary 2007) where conflicting values are at stake. Since the 1980s, in the UK, market-oriented, private sector-based management and accounting frameworks have been introduced into the public sector in an attempt to increase efficiency in the allocation of financial and human resources, to enhance managerial accountability, and to aid experimentation with mixed public-private organization (Hood 1991; Humphrey et al. 1993; Kurunmäki and Miller 2011; Pollitt 1993).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information