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Is political arithmetic still alive?
Mälardalen University, School of Business.
(English)In: Critical Perspectives on AccountingArticle in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-4067OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-4067DiVA: diva2:120614
Available from: 2007-02-01 Created: 2007-02-01 Last updated: 2015-07-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Drömmar om något bättre: Om managementmodeller, mätningar och människor
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Drömmar om något bättre: Om managementmodeller, mätningar och människor
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

For several years I have, from a management control perspective, followed the development and application of several popular management models, for example, the knowledge management, balanced scorecard, and intellectual capital models. This thesis, comprising four papers and an extended covering paper, contributes to the management control field by discussing and problematizing management models and how they describe humans by means of measurement.

This thesis thus does not emphasize the various possibilities for measurement, but rather how measurement is becoming important and what measurement processes might accomplish. Confidence in measurements is great, and the literature often argues for their importance. Furthermore, there is extensive discussion of what factors should be measured and how they should be measured. However, adages such as ‘What gets measured gets managed’ are rarely discussed or problematized.

The dream of better visualizing humans in organizational management models is sometimes expressed in powerful terms, both poetic and dreamlike. If only humans were better visualized, the value-creation process would become more understandable, benefiting everyone and burnishing the image of the good organization. However, it sometimes seems as though this initial dream has become blurred, and measurement per se has tended to overshadow the initial vision. In that case, management models become not just tools, means to attaining the dream, but gradually become ends in themselves.

There seems to be a contradiction between the idea of visualizing humans in organizational management models and the results of these models. Paradoxically, these management models are not necessarily making people visible – as was intended; rather, the risk is that they may actually make people less visible, or even invisible. Humans have become bare numbers, and where there is no feedback to ‘flesh and blood’ (i.e., humans), measurements risk losing their purpose. The question remains whether humans are actually made more visible by the measurements used in ‘new’ management models, or whether organizations risk rendering humans invisible and reducing them to objects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ekonomihögskolan, 2007
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 41
Keyword
managementmodeller, mätning, människor, balanserat styrkort, intellektuellt kapital, knowledge management, politisk aritmetik
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industriell ekonomi och organisation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-177 (URN)978-91-85485-39-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-03-09, Milos, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-02-01 Created: 2007-02-01

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