• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Questioning Performance Measurement: Metrics, Organizations and Power is the first book to interrogate the organizational turn towards performance metrics critically. Performance measurement is used to evaluate a diverse range of activities throughout the private, public and non-governmental sectors. But in an increasingly data driven world, what does it really mean to measure ‘performance’? Taking a sociology of quantification perspective, this book traces the rise of performance measurement, questions its methods and objectivity, and examines the social significance of the flood of numbers through which value is represented and actors are held accountable. An illuminating read for students, scholars and practitioners across Organization Studies, Sociology, Business and Management, Public Policy and Administration.

Perspectives On Performance Measurement
Perspectives On Performance Measurement

Societies throughout history have used numbers for a fascinating range of ends (Cohen 2005: 12). One of the key stories about their social power posits that they have shaped modernity since the eighteenth century through scientific methodologies, government statistics, and their use in market exchange and industrial production (Cohen 2005). Taking such a historical view emphasizes that languages of number change like others, and, in particular, that numerous instances of ‘the extension of quantitative thinking’ become evident (147).

Yet despite the key roles numbers have played in modernity, Poovey (1998: xi) argues that they constitute the last frontier of representation in that their social significance has hardly been analysed critically compared with other kinds of discourse. Longstanding associations ...

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