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Contesting commensuration: Public response tactics to performance evaluation of academia
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. (CEROC)
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. (CEROC)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3676-5155
2019 (English)In: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, ISSN 1368-0668, E-ISSN 1758-4205, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 1098-1116Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore how actors subjected to public performance evaluations may “contest commensuration,” i.e. may seek to influence how such ratings and rankings will be construed among important stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study of press releases, and interviews with department heads, is used as a basis for the analysis.

Findings: The empirically derived taxonomy of public responses to a state-initiated performance evaluation of educational programs shows that actors may mobilize an array of commensuration management tactics so as to maintain or improve one’s relative positional status. Such tactics may have at least three different foci, namely, on the comparison object (i.e. on the new grouping of actors), the comparison dimension (i.e. the standardized format for comparison) and the comparison rate (i.e. the rate received), respectively. The authors also find that not only are threats to positional status likely to spur commensuration management tactics, but also the opportunity to exploit a good rate.

Originality/value: The paper augments recent research that has problematized the so-called “reactive conformance thesis” by focusing on how evaluated organizations may directly try to influence external stakeholders through public responses. The study is also one of the first that analytically disentangles how they may skillfully exploit different forms of “plasticity” that are inherent in any type of commensuration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019. Vol. 32, no 4, p. 1098-1116
Keywords [en]
Academia, Contesting commensuration, Management accounting, Public response tactics, Performance evaluation, Rankings
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-75761DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-09-2016-2717ISI: 000479308900007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85066872528OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-75761DiVA, id: diva2:1342464
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2014-740The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, 2015-0031:1
Note

Funding Agency:

Örebro University

Available from: 2019-08-13 Created: 2019-08-13 Last updated: 2019-08-23Bibliographically approved

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Gerdin, JonasEnglund, Hans

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Citation style
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