The Impact of Digital Platforms on Performance Measurement and Management

Student thesis: Phd


In this thesis, I examine the impact of digital platforms on performance measurement and management practices. The thesis consists of three essays. In the first essay, I examine practices through which fluid accountability is configured in a fluid organisation by focusing on a case of a luxury resort hotel that operates in a dynamic and complex organisational environment. First, I identify three components of accountability from the literature (transparency, disciplinarity, manageability) through which accountability is configured. Second, I trace practices observed from the case organisation to build a conceptual model to explain the configuration of ‘fluid accountability’ and show how the three components work differently in a fluid organisation. My in-depth case study builds the basis for understanding of how organisations can configure fluid accountability, in which it seems ‘anyone’ can be held accountable for ‘anything’ by ‘anyone’, in order to adapt to the increasingly dynamic and unpredictable environment. In the second essay, I explore the process through which a luxury hotel resort incorporated smartphones and mobile platforms into its performance management routines. Drawing on an imbrication framework, I conducted case study research in which I found that different sets of affordances and constraints that arose during the smartphone adoption process acted as the building blocks that reconfigured the hotel’s performance management routines. This essay improves our understanding of how smartphone and mobile platforms affect performance management routines through an improvisation process that involves various groups of employees. My results highlight the importance of improvisation and the flexibility of mobile platforms in improving the management control system. In the third and last essay, I investigate how external digital platforms shape user organisations’ surveillance practices and influence individuals within the organisation. Drawing on Bauman’s notion of liquidity, I critically analysed how digital platform and the user organisation’s surveillance practices became entangled and new forms of surveillance emerged. The findings reveal that when digital platforms infiltrate user organisations, they can affect the existing surveillance and control practices by making them more flexible, adaptable and efficient, but can also be problematic for individuals within the organisation by increasing surveillance. Specifically, this essay adds new insights into how external digital platforms can influence how individuals experience surveillance, freedom and connection.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRobert Scapens (Supervisor), Brian Nicholson (Supervisor) & Chunlei Yang (Supervisor)


  • Smartphones
  • Organizational routines
  • Fluid organization
  • Practices
  • Accountability
  • Management Accounting
  • Surveillance
  • Information Systems
  • Performance measurement and management
  • digital platforms
  • Technology change

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