Performance measurement, modes of evaluation and the development of compromising accounts

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In this paper we develop the concept of compromising accounts as a distinctive approach to the analysis of whether and how accounting can facilitate compromise amongst organizational actors. We take the existence of conflicting logics and values as the starting point for our analysis, and directly examine the ways in which the design and operation of accounts can be implicated in compromises between different modes of evaluation and when and how such compromises can be productive or unproductive. In doing so, we draw on Stark s (2009: 27) concept of organizing dissonance , where the coming together of multiple evaluative principles has the potential to produce a productive friction that can help the organization to recombine ideas and perspectives in creative and constructive ways. In a field study of a non-government organization, we examine how debates and struggles over the design and operation of a performance measurement system affected the potential for productive debate and compromise between different modes of evaluation. Our study shows that there is much scope for future research to examine how accounts can create sites that bring together (or indeed push apart) organizational actors with different evaluative principles, and the ways in which this coming together can be potentially productive and/or destructive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268 - 287
Number of pages20
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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