Accounting, Calculative Infrastructures and Commensuration Work

Fredrik Svärdsten, Sven Modell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accounting scholars are paying increasing attention to the notion of commensuration, or the translation of different objects into common metrics that make the entities that are subject to performance evaluation comparable, and the effects this has on organizational behavior. This body of research draws attention to organizations’ commensuration work, defined as the efforts that evaluated organizations expend in pursuing and dealing with resistance to commensuration, but has mainly explored how such work emerges in response to a single set of comparable metrics such as individual rankings or ratings. By contrast, we ask how commensuration work unfolds in relation to a broader assemblage of calculative infrastructures. Such infrastructures can entail multiple, inter-related performance evaluation procedures that influence organizations’ commensuration work and give rise to complex patterns of reactivity, denoting the propensity of organizations to alter their behavior as they internalize external pressures for performance evaluation. Our empirical findings underline the importance of adopting a multi-layered view of commensuration work, that entails both direct and indirect forms of reactivity, as it unfolds in relation to a broader assemblage of calculative infrastructures. We discuss the implications of adopting such a view for future research on commensuration and related research on performance evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Dec 2022


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