The role of criticism in the dynamics of performance evaluation systems

A. Bourguignon, E. CHIAPELLO

Critical Perspectives on Accounting

août 2005, vol. 16, n°6, pp.665-700

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Drawing on the concept of "trial," developed by French sociologists, this article analyzes the dynamics of employees' performance evaluation systems, particularly those involving accounting performance measures. A case study is presented as an illustration of our proposal to consider these systems as one of the major trials in the business world, that is, social arrangements organizing the testing of people and resulting in ordering them, and further in consistent social goods allocation. This analysis emphasizes the role of criticism in the dynamics and evolution of performance evaluation systems and enables us to revisit concepts like controllability or objectivity which have been presented for decades as cornerstones of performance evaluation systems either in management control or in human resource management fields