Management control as a tool for respecting and promoting ethical standards in Polish local government units

Bożena Nadolna, Marzena Rydzewska-Włodarczyk


Purpose. The main aim of this article is to assess the scope of the implementation of management control mechanisms in respecting and promoting ethical behaviour in the Polish local government administration. An additional aim of this article is specific identification of ethical infrastructure in these units and an indication of the role of management control in respect of non-infringement of ethical behaviour by employees and management.

Methodology. To meet the objectives of the article, there was  conducted survey research among provincial, district and municipal local government units in Poland. For the purpose of the study was used triangulation methodology combining qualitative and quantitative research. At the first stage an extensive review of the literature was conducted in order to select the research methodology and selected local government units were interviewed to determine the scope of ethical infrastructure and the role of management control in the respect and promotion of ethical behaviour. The findings of these interviews were used to develop a questionnaire, which was carried out in units of previously granting interviews. Then, questionnaires were sent to 400 units of local government in Poland, of which 288 questionnaires were analyzed. The results of the survey were processed using statistical methods.

Results. The results of the survey showed that management control mechanisms in respecting and promoting ethical behaviour are being effectively implemented in the majority of local government  units in Poland. May raise some concerns: 1) participation of different, often random people or bodies in forming internal ethical regulations in the units, what may lead to a misunderstanding of the rules among employees, and 2) lack of risk assessment associated with unethical behaviour of employees in more than half of the surveyed units.

The Theoretical contribution scheme. Research results helped to identify components of ethical infrastructure in local government units, and identified range of tasks carried out in the field of management control. Research has also determined the impact of the implementation of performance budget and internal audit in government units, on ethical principles.

Practical Implications. The results of the study will be published and submitted to the Audit Department of the Public Finance Sector in the Ministry of Finance in order to expand the knowledge base of ethical infrastructure problems in the sector of local government units..

Keywords: management control, ethics  infrastructure, polish local government administration, survey research

Paper type: Research paper


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