Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Representing Performance | Performing Representation: Ontology in accounting practice
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2140-8959
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 [en]
Accounting; Ontology; Commensuration; Distance; Performance measurement; Praxiography
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119958ISBN: 978-91-7649-248-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119958DiVA: diva2:849691
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
List of papers
1. Framing numbers ‘at a distance’: Intangible performance reporting in a theater
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Framing numbers ‘at a distance’: Intangible performance reporting in a theater
2011 (English)In: Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting, ISSN 1401-338X, E-ISSN 1758-745X, Vol. 15, no 4, 260-278 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how the framing of numbers may be related to the distance between the information provider and information users.

Design/methodology/approach – The design of the paper is a case study, in an organizational situation where there are perceived problems in producing stable inscriptions for reporting to users at a distance. The study focuses on the top management level in a small-sized publicly-funded theater. The qualitative research design incorporates interviews, observations and document analysis.

Findings – The paper illustrates how knowledge and understanding of the circumstances of measurement form a substantial part of what constitutes “distance” between an accounting user and the referred context. It is argued that the framing of numbers may be utilized as a means to control action at a distance. The findings also imply that the use of measurements regarding intangibles may be perceived as useful for purposes beyond internal management.

Originality/value – The paper contributes in two ways to prior research on accountability relations and accounting as an enabler of action at a distance: it elaborates on what constitutes a distance, and it also adds an emphasis on reciprocal behavior by the provider of information in an accountability relation.

Keyword
Accounting users “at a distance”, Framing of numbers, Information management, Information transfer, Intangible performance, Measurement, Theatre
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79167 (URN)10.1108/14013381111197216 (DOI)
Conference
EIASM 7th Interdisciplinary Workshop on "Intangibles, Intellectual Capital & Extra-Financial Information", Warzaw, Poland, September 29-30, 2011
Available from: 2012-08-28 Created: 2012-08-28 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Managing distances: Ontological work of ‘distancing’ in the consumption of accounting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing distances: Ontological work of ‘distancing’ in the consumption of accounting
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper sets out to contribute to the earlier propositions that accounting creates a distance and that accounts make it possible to manage at a distance. By moving away from distance as a problem and instead attending to how accounts are mobilized to enact distance, this study seeks to reconsider the relationship between accounting practices and distance. That is, to study the interrelation between accounting representation and action we explore practices of distancing. We report from an ethnography of board work in a theatre company, where we analyse the link between accounts and distance inside and outside of the boardroom. We find that when mobilizing accounting, actors in and around the board imagine the future consumption of accounts. Findings illustrate that distancing involves the enactment of a future self (self- distancing) as well as of the absent ‘others’. Thus, distance is an effect of the way accounts are mobilized and consumed and accounts are mobilized in particular ways to enable the enactment of particular distances. A second finding, that distancing takes place in many places simultaneously, implies that the link between accounting and distance cannot be conceptualized as singular. We suggest that the mediating function that accounting may serve between organization and action may have more to do with the ontological work in the consumption of accounts than with inherent properties of the accounts.

National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119692 (URN)
Available from: 2015-08-21 Created: 2015-08-21 Last updated: 2015-08-31
3. Ontological work in board practices: Organizing the governing of multiple performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ontological work in board practices: Organizing the governing of multiple performance
(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:nbn:se:su:diva-119693 (URN)
Available from: 2015-08-21 Created: 2015-08-21 Last updated: 2015-08-31
4. The ontological making of a ‘fundable object’: Commensuration and incommensurability in a budget meeting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The ontological making of a ‘fundable object’: Commensuration and incommensurability in a budget meeting
(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:nbn:se:su:diva-119694 (URN)
Available from: 2015-08-21 Created: 2015-08-21 Last updated: 2015-08-31
5. Transparency
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transparency
2012 (English)In: Critical Perspectives on Accounting, ISSN 1045-2354, E-ISSN 1095-9955, Vol. 23, no 2, 175- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
Transparency, Distance
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63995 (URN)10.1016/j.cpa.2011.11.006 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-01-04 Created: 2011-11-05 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Representing Performance | Performing Representation(570 kB)368 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 570 kBChecksum SHA-512
e94d58308cfe1fff23f01985bc808e33928c06d62cce929633de967762a7f9dbefb0c66e0f887b91938e946b641dbe3cae3722a96d3e3aa3c5cd13e1cc330a1f
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Sundström, Andreas
By organisation
Stockholm Business School
Business Administration

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 368 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 2104 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf