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The ontological making of a ‘fundable object’: Commensuration and incommensurability in a budget meeting
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Accounting.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2140-8959
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Based on four years of immersion with managerial and board work in a performing arts company, this paper examines the ontological work involved in translations between organizational matters and numerical representation. While the managers struggle with commensuration to make their arguments for increased funding coherent in numbers, the political representatives in turn struggle to extract ‘fundable objects’ from commensurate numbers. The study finds the process of ‘making things the same’ to enable budgeting decisions to be accompanied with a no less significant counterachievement of ‘making things different’. The study links accounting literature on commensuration to recent studies of ontology in Science and Technology Studies. It thus emphasizes the ontological achievement implicit in work with representations, contributing to our understanding of representation in accounting practice.

National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119694OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119694DiVA: diva2:847761
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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