Accounting and the Organisational Quest for Commensuration
Accounting and Management Control
Speaker: Swen Modell (University of Manchester)
Zoom video conference
This paper examines the question of what makes organisations engage in quests for commensuration, defined as the translation of different objects into comparable metrics, and how this affects their accounting practices. While prior research on this topic has nearly exclusively examined how evaluated organisations react to external pressures for commensuration, we extend this body of research by inquiring into what affects the quest for commensuration where such pressures are relaxed. Based on a longitudinal field study in a Swedish government agency, we show that the notion of commensuration may need to be re-conceptualised as a multi-layered phenomenon, that does not depend on a single set of evaluation procedures but rather emerges through a complex interplay between distinct, but related, commensuration processes within and around organisations. We discuss the implications of adopting such a multi-layered conception of commensuration for future research on the topic and accounting regulation more generally.