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Ontological work in board practices: Organizing the governing of multiple performance
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Accounting.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2140-8959
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The constitutive role of accounting, proposed in social studies of accounting, complicates the understanding of the relationship between organizational realities and accounting representations of organizations. Making this conflict an empirical question, the study attends to the ontological work in practices of representing organizational Performance in a boardroom. The study draws upon an ethnographic study of management and board work in a theatre company in 2010-2015. By attending particularly to the ontological work in accounting practices of knowing company performance, the aim of the paper is to contribute to the understanding of the role of accounting in the enactment of organizational realities.  Findings illuminate how board practices of monitoring and reporting on Performance produce multiple ontologies of Performance. Rather than striving for commensuration or elimination of such differences, the theatre board organizes its practices to uphold multiple, ontologically different, versions of Performance. The study contributes to recent discussions on fluidity and ontological multiplicity in accounting practices, and the paper calls for further analysis of ontological compatibility between accounting technologies and the practices in which these are used.

National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119693OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119693DiVA: diva2:847760
Available from: 2015-08-21 Created: 2015-08-21 Last updated: 2015-08-31
In thesis
1. Representing Performance | Performing Representation: Ontology in accounting practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Representing Performance | Performing Representation: Ontology in accounting practice
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Social studies of accounting have drawn attention to the dubious role of accounting as a representational link between organizational realities and action. Based on five years immersion with performance management and board work in a theatre company, this thesis inquires into the ontological significance of accounting practices. The study takes a praxiographic approach, which emphasizes action and relocates questions of representation towards the practices in which representations are mobilized. The research questions refer specifically to ontological work related to commensurability and distance in accounting practices. Four papers attend to the manners in which the organizational performance of the theatre company is represented in different situations of managing, governing and reporting. The papers demonstrate and analyse different examples of ontological work involved in achieving (or retracting) representational links. In conclusion, the thesis places the organizing of ontological tensions – especially the tension between singular accounting representations and multiple organizational realities – at the core of accounting representation practices. The thesis thus contributes to practical, theoretical and philosophical discussions on the links between accounting practices, accounts and reality. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University, 2015. 66 p.
Keyword
Accounting; Ontology; Commensuration; Distance; Performance measurement; Praxiography
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119958 (URN)978-91-7649-248-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-16, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Roslagsvägen 101, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-09-24 Created: 2015-08-30 Last updated: 2015-09-14Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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