IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/aosoci/v36y2011i7p428-455.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Tracing performance in the pharmaceutical industry: Ambivalence, opacity and the performativity of flawed measures

Author

Listed:
  • Dambrin, Claire
  • Robson, Keith

Abstract

In this paper we explore performance measurement practices in the pharmaceutical industry with particular focus on the inscribing (or ‘tracing’) of pharmaceutical representatives (‘drug reps’) responsible for the promotion of prescription medications to general practitioners and other healthcare professionals. We draw upon Latour’s sociology of translation to explore performance measures in the organizational field of pharmaceutical companies operating in France. Access to sales data is heavily circumscribed by government regulation of the health sector: doctors’ prescriptions that generate sales remain hidden from pharmaceutical companies. We explore how organizational actors build control and address problems of ‘circulating reference’ (Latour, 1999) in this setting. We show how ambivalence, opacity, bricolage, and practical actions enabled by inscription devices strengthen networks of performance measurement. In so doing, we contribute to the sociology of translation by highlighting how weak references can perform and circulate without reversibility in the chains of transformation between matters and forms. We also seek to add to and to depart from the literature on performance measurement focusing on transparency and certainty as key features for ‘successful’ implementation of performance measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Dambrin, Claire & Robson, Keith, 2011. "Tracing performance in the pharmaceutical industry: Ambivalence, opacity and the performativity of flawed measures," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 428-455.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:7:p:428-455 DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2011.07.006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0361368211000663
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Miller, Peter & O'Leary, Ted, 2007. "Mediating instruments and making markets: Capital budgeting, science and the economy," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 701-734.
    2. Claire Dambrin & Caroline Lambert & Samuel Sponem, 2007. "Control and Change. Analysing the Process of Institutionalisation," Post-Print halshs-00170562, HAL.
    3. Mouritsen, Jan & Hansen, Allan & Hansen, Carsten Ørts, 2009. "Short and long translations: Management accounting calculations and innovation management," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 738-754, August.
    4. Burchell, Stuart & Clubb, Colin & Hopwood, Anthony & Hughes, John & Nahapiet, Janine, 1980. "The roles of accounting in organizations and society," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 5-27, January.
    5. Fabian Muniesa, 2007. "Market technologies and the pragmatics of prices," Post-Print halshs-00160893, HAL.
    6. Ittner, Christopher D. & Larcker, David F. & Randall, Taylor, 2003. "Performance implications of strategic performance measurement in financial services firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(7-8), pages 715-741.
    7. Véronique Malleret & Annick Bourguignon & Hanne Norreklit, 2004. "The American balanced scorecard versus the French tableau de bord : the ideological dimension," Post-Print hal-00486648, HAL.
    8. Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Willmott, Hugh & Worthington, Frank, 2008. "Manufacturing shareholder value: The role of accounting in organizational transformation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 107-140.
    9. Joel M. Stern & G. Bennett Stewart & Donald H. Chew, 1996. "Eva®: An integrated financial management system," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 2(2), pages 223-245.
    10. Colwyn Jones, T. & Dugdale, David, 2002. "The ABC bandwagon and the juggernaut of modernity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 121-163.
    11. Christopher D. Ittner, 2002. "The Association Between Activity-Based Costing and Manufacturing Performance," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 711-726, June.
    12. Ahrens, Thomas & Chapman, Christopher S., 2007. "Management accounting as practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 1-27.
    13. Chua, Wai Fong, 1995. "Experts, networks and inscriptions in the fabrication of accounting images: A story of the representation of three public hospitals," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(2-3), pages 111-145.
    14. Preston, Alistair M., 2006. "Enabling, enacting and maintaining action at a distance: An historical case study of the role of accounts in the reduction of the Navajo herds," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 559-578, August.
    15. Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Lilley, Simon & Willmott, Hugh, 2004. "Accounting representation and the road to commercial salvation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 783-813, November.
    16. Robson, Keith, 1991. "On the arenas of accounting change: The process of translation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(5-6), pages 547-570.
    17. Jensen, Michael C., 2002. "Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 235-256, April.
    18. repec:dau:papers:123456789/1094 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Wouters, Marc & Wilderom, Celeste, 2008. "Developing performance-measurement systems as enabling formalization: A longitudinal field study of a logistics department," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(4-5), pages 488-516.
    20. Preston, Alistair M. & Cooper, David J. & Coombs, Rod W., 1992. "Fabricating budgets: A study of the production of management budgeting in the national health service," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 561-593, August.
    21. Quattrone, Paolo & Hopper, Trevor, 2005. "A 'time-space odyssey': management control systems in two multinational organisations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 735-764.
    22. Briers, Michael & Chua, Wai Fong, 2001. "The role of actor-networks and boundary objects in management accounting change: a field study of an implementation of activity-based costing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 237-269, April.
    23. Miller, Peter, 1991. "Accounting innovation beyond the enterprise: Problematizing investment decisions and programming economic growth in the U.K. in the 1960s," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(8), pages 733-762.
    24. Marginson, David & Ogden, Stuart, 2005. "Coping with ambiguity through the budget: the positive effects of budgetary targets on managers' budgeting behaviours," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 435-456, July.
    25. Dechow, Niels & Mouritsen, Jan, 2005. "Enterprise resource planning systems, management control and the quest for integration," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 691-733.
    26. Robson, Keith, 1992. "Accounting numbers as "inscription": Action at a distance and the development of accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(7), pages 685-708, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Robson, Keith & Stapleton, Pam, 2012. "The logics of budgeting: Theorization and practice variation in the educational field," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 281-303.
    2. repec:eee:aosoci:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mehrpouya, Afshin & Samiolo, Rita, 2016. "Performance measurement in global governance: Ranking and the politics of variability," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 12-31.
    4. Cooper, Christine, 2015. "Entrepreneurs of the self: The development of management control since 1976," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 14-24.
    5. Chenhall, Robert H. & Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2013. "Performance measurement, modes of evaluation and the development of compromising accounts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Huikku, Jari & Mouritsen, Jan & Silvola, Hanna, 2017. "Relative reliability and the recognisable firm: Calculating goodwill impairment value," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 68-83.
    7. Pollock, Neil & D’Adderio, Luciana, 2012. "Give me a two-by-two matrix and I will create the market: Rankings, graphic visualisations and sociomateriality," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 565-586.
    8. Mahama, Habib & Chua, Wai Fong, 2016. "A study of alliance dynamics, accounting and trust-as-practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 29-46.
    9. Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Xiao, Jason Zezhong, 2015. "The development of accounting regulations for foreign invested firms in China: The role of Chinese characteristics," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 60-84.
    10. Wæraas , Arild & Agger Nielsen, Jeppe, 2015. "Translation Theory ‘Translated’: Three Perspectives on Translation in Organizational Research," Working Paper Series 16-2015, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business.
    11. Paul Andon & Jane Baxter & Wai Fong Chua, 2015. "Accounting for Stakeholders and Making Accounting Useful," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(7), pages 986-1002, November.
    12. Jordan, Silvia & Messner, Martin, 2012. "Enabling control and the problem of incomplete performance indicators," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 544-564.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:7:p:428-455. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.