Can innovation be measured? A framework of how measurement of innovation engages attention in firms


Journal of Engineering and Technology Management

avril-juin 2018, vol. 48, pp.64-75

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Innovation management, Key performance measurement, Measuring innovation, Attention, Attention based theory, Process model, Exploration and exploitation, Conversational measurement, Directional measurement

Many firms manage the innovation process by using metrics. Yet, whether measurement supports or hinders innovation continues to be a topic of debate. To shed new light on this debate, this paper presents a conceptual framework of how measurement engages attention in firms. We draw on attention based theory and conceptualize innovation measurement as an attention-focusing device. We identify two ideal types of measurement practices. i) Directional Measurement: which is based on few and unidirectional metrics and encourages exploitative innovation efforts. ii) Conversational Measurement: which is based on multiple and ambiguous metrics and encourages exploration. We extend theory building in the technology and accounting literatures by theorizing the role of metrics and measurement for attention and by discussing the implications of such attentional engagement for innovation performance. In so doing, we engage closely with the managerial task of managing innovation while simplifying its conditions, thereby providing actionable advice

Le chercheur écrit


Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels

2018, vol. 57, n°XXIV, pp.91-106

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : science, langage, écriture, le travail du chercheur, réalité, «créateur de réalité», «raconteur d’histoires», «histoire scientifique» / science, language, writing, researcher’s activity, reality, “reality maker”, “story teller”, “scientific story”

Quelle que soit sa discipline, que fait le chercheur lorsqu’il est au travail – dans son bureau, dans un laboratoire ou sur le « terrain » ? Il écrit, en particulier. Ce papier explore les relations, très peu étudiées, entre science, travail de recherche et écriture. Quand il écrit un article, un livre ou une communication à un congrès, le chercheur raconte une histoire (ou une série d’histoires). Comme on le verra, le contenu qui est donné au mot histoire déleste celui-ci de toute connotation péjorative ou critique. Les « histoires scientifiques » que le chercheur écrit visent à créer de la réalité – une « réalité partagée » par les autres chercheurs. Le chercheur est un « raconteur d’histoires », un « créateur de réalité ». Telle est la thèse, de caractère anthropologique, qui est exposée

Making a Niche: The Marketization of Management Research and the Rise of “Knowledge Branding”


Journal of Management Studies

juin 2018, vol. 55, n°4, pp.728-734

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

In this essay, we discuss an underexplored and consequential aspect of management scholarship that we term ‘Knowledge Branding’. Knowledge Branding refers to forms of market‐oriented work undertaken when creating, maintaining and developing niches of research. We consider some of the conditions and consequences of Knowledge Branding in the formation and expansion of management research sub‐fields, and then suggest how its more damaging effects might be mitigated.We invite participation in a ‘difficult conversation’ about the culture of market‐oriented knowledge production in management research, not only by raising uncomfortable questions about its grip on our field but also because we acknowledge our complicity in what we discuss. One of us (Hugh) has had an academic career spanning four decades, has been keenly observing the evolution of management scholarship, and has been questioning recent trends such as the commercialization and marketization of higher education, the commodification of academic labour, and the rise of managerialism evident in the use of performance measurement systems such as journal lists. At the same time, he has served on panels responsible for evaluating business and management research (e.g., the UK research evaluation exercises, RAE and REF). By associating funding more directly to short(‐ish) term performance metrics, such exercises are seen to have accelerated the marketization of research that we consider here. The other (Afshin) has started his academic career relatively recently. He has closely and personally experienced and observed the intensifying pressures upon Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to maximize ‘hits’ in ‘top’ journals that are fuelled by the importance placed by ‘consumers’ (students) and managers (deans, appointment and promotion committee members) on rankings of business schools and universities.Writing this essay was prompted by our reflections on the process of preparing and revising a paper for a special issue of Journal of Management Studies dedicated to ‘Political CSR’ (Scherer et al., 2016). Our participation in a number of workshops, conference sessions, and the review processes in relation to the preparation and revision of the paper led us to reflect in a more sustained way upon a process that we believe to be consequential in the rise of Political CSR, and that we characterize as Knowledge Branding. Based on personal experiences and discussions with a number of colleagues, we have come to believe that Knowledge Branding exerts an increasing influence in the formation and expansion of management research sub‐fields which we term Knowledge Brands (KBs). Examples with which we have more familiarity include ‘Political CSR’, ‘Strategy‐as‐Practice’, ‘Institutional Logics’ and ‘Institutional Work’. There are also methodological KBs, such as the ‘Gioia Methodology’, that cut across diverse sub‐fields. This list is by no means exhaustive and it would be surprising, in the context of intensifying competition to occupy the restricted spaces in ‘top’ journals, if the phenomena of Knowledge Branding and KBs were absent from other management sub‐disciplines (e.g., finance and marketing) or other fields of the social sciences.We are not taking issue with the disciplinarity of research in management and the lifecycle of sub‐disciplines that have been explored and debated extensively by others. Nor do we seek to reflect on the role of management academics (along with consultants and other professional groups) in developing and marketing managerial techniques and in giving rise to ‘management fashions’ (Abrahamson, 1996). Instead, our essay foregrounds the nature and effects of an intensification of market‐based organizing in the establishment and consolidation of management research sub‐fields. We do not suggest here that Knowledge Branding is a wholly new phenomenon. We do believe, however, that it is becoming more widespread and significant as an outcome, but also as a medium, of the intensification of market pressures and managerialism in our field. If our speculative observations resonate with our readers, then we hope that our sketch of Knowledge Branding will prompt more systematic scrutiny and evaluation of its operation and effects

The expansion of non-financial reporting: an exploratory study


Accounting and Business Research

juillet 2018, vol. 48, n°5, pp.525-548

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Non-financial reporting (NFR), Non-financial information (NFI), integrated reporting, corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting, sustainability reporting, environmental reporting, social reporting

The objective of this study is to investigate how non-financial reporting (NFR) is defined and has expanded in recent years. First, we explore the heterogeneity in definitions and current NFR practices. We find a lack of convergence between regulators and standard-setters, as well as leading sustainable firms. Second, we examine the changes in the extent and type of NFR reported by firms over the period 2006-2016. Based on a sample of firms in South Africa, a leading country in NFR, we document a significant increase in the amount of NFR, particularly between 2006 and 2011. This change appears to be driven by new environmental, human capital, performance and strategic disclosures. The relative importance of financial information in corporate reporting decreased substantially over the same period. Third, we compare reporting practices for corporate social responsibility (CSR)/sustainability information between constituents of the S&P 500 index and the EuroStoxx 600 index. We find that overall, the percentage of firms issuing CSR/sustainability reports increased dramatically between 2002 and 2015 for both stock indices. Constituents of the U.S. stock index and growth firms are less likely to report CSR/sustainability information, whereas firms in the European stock index in environmentally sensitive industries, have high capital intensity and good CSR performance, are larger with better financial performance, are more likely to report CSR/sustainability information

Assembling international development: Accountability and the disarticulation of a social movement


Accounting Organizations and Society

février 2017, vol. 63, pp.6-20

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Accountability, Social movements, International development, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Governmentality, Assemblages

This paper examines how international development funding and accountability requirements are implicated in the so-called disarticulation of a social movement. Based on field studies in Guatemala and El Salvador, we show and explain the way accountability requirements, which encompass management and accounting, legal, and financial technologies, constitute the field of international development through the regulation of heterogeneous social movement organizations. We highlight how accountability enables a form of governance that makes possible the emergence of entities (with specific attributes), while restricting others. Our analysis has implications for governmentality studies that have examined the interrelation of assemblages by analyzing how these interrelations are operationalized at the field level through the Deleuze-and-Guattari-inspired processes of territorialization, coding, and overcoding

Blockholder Exit Threats in the Presence of Private Benefits of Control

Ole-Kristian HOPE, H. WU, Wuyang ZHAO

Review of Accounting Studies

juin 2017, vol. 22, n°2, pp.873-902

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Exit-Threat Theory, Private Benefits of Control, Liquidity, China, Split-Share Structure Reform, Operating Performance, Quasi-Experiment

Exit theory predicts a governance role of outside blockholders’ exit threats; but this role could be ineffective if managers’ potential private benefits exceed their loss in stock-price declines caused by outside blockholders’ exit. We test this prediction using the Split-Share Structure Reform (SSSR) in China, which provided a large, exogenous, and permanent shock to the cost for outside blockholders to exit. Using a difference-in-differences design combined with propensity-score matching, we find that firms whose outside blockholders experience an increase in exit threats have a greater improvement in performance than those whose outside blockholders experience no increase. Moreover, the governance effect of exit threats is ineffective in the group of firms with the highest concern for private benefits of control. Finally, a battery of theory-motivated tests show that the documented effects are unlikely explained by outside blockholder intervention or some well-known intended effects of SSSR

Consequences of the Abandonment of Mandatory Joint Audit: An Empirical Study of Audit Costs and Audit Quality Effects


European Accounting Review

2017, vol. 26, n°2, pp.311-339

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : Joint audit, Audit cost, Audit quality, Audit market, Denmark

This paper focuses on the unique Danish setting in examining the consequences of abandoning a mandatory joint audit regime. We study the effects on audit costs (measured by audit fees) and audit quality (measured by abnormal accruals) of the abandonment of the mandatory joint audit in Denmark in 2005. We perform our analysis on non-financial listed Danish companies for the 2002–2010 period. Our results show that a joint audit is associated with higher fees, but that the association between joint audit and abnormal accruals is insignificant. This suggests that the higher audit fees cannot be explained by higher audit quality. Our results are robust to alternative measurements of fees and audit quality. Additional analyses show that the fee premium related to a joint audit decreases over time and that the Big 4 concentration in our sample has increased since the switch from mandatory to voluntary joint audit. Our results are consistent with the motivations driving the regulatory change in Denmark and are of interest to regulators and actors in the audit market

Constructing, Contesting, and Overloading: A Study of Risk Management Framing


European Accounting Review

2017, vol. 26, n°4, pp.703-728

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

In this study, we examine the ways in which actuarial consultants attempt to motivate their clients to see pension-related accounting regulations and market volatility as ‘risks’ that need to be managed through particular risk-mitigating technologies. This study is predicated on 23 interviews conducted with actuarial consultants and their clients and consulting agencies’ publically available documents. Taking framing theory and the sociological literature on risk as conceptual starting points, we find that consultants engage in specific framing strategies to persuade clients by rhetorically weaving a series of financial risk objects, financial de-risking strategies, and calls for action. We also find that current and prospective clients sometimes contest consultants’ prescriptions, despite the pervasiveness of risk management as the ultima ratio of organizational governance. This contestation occurs, ironically, because adopting de-risking solutions in one area is perceived by some clients as triggering new risks in areas unforeseen by consultants. This research increases our knowledge of how new risk objects and de-risking solutions come into existence and why some risk management practices fail to be diffused within organizations despite the staggering success of the risk management rationality. We explain the latter through the concepts of frame diffraction and overload

Evaluative Infrastructures: Accounting for distributed network production


Accounting Organizations and Society

juillet 2017, vol. 60, n°7, pp.79-95

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

Mots clés : AccountingHierarchical consciousnessEvaluationInfrastructurePlatform organization!

Platform organizations such as Uber, eBay and Airbnb represent a growing disruptive phenomenon in contemporary capitalism, transforming economic organization, the nature of work, and the distribution of wealth. This paper investigates the accounting practices that underpin this new form of organizing, and in doing so confronts a significant challenge within the accounting literature: the need to escape what Hopwood (1996) describes as its “hierarchical consciousness”. In order to do so, this paper develops the concept of evaluative infrastructure which describes accounting practices that enable platform based organization. They are evaluative because they deploy a plethora of interacting devices, including rankings, ratings, reviews, and audits to establish orders of worth. They are infrastructures because they provide the invisible yet essential mechanisms for the flow of economic activity and exchange on platforms. Illustrating the concept of evaluative infrastructure with the example of eBay, the paper's contribution is to (1) provide an analytical vocabulary to capture the accounting practices underpinning platforms as new organizational forms, and in so doing (2) extend accounting scholars' analytical focus from hierarchical settings towards heterarchies. Conceptually, this shift from management accounting to evaluative infrastructures entails a focus on relationality (evaluative infrastructures do not represent or reference but relate things, people and ideas with each other); generativity (evaluative infrastructures do not territorialize objects but disclose new worlds); and new forms of control (evaluative infrastructures are not centres of calculation; rather, control is radically distributed, whilst power remains centralized).

Internal Audit Effectiveness: Multiple Case Study Research Involving Chief Audit Executives and Senior Management


The EDP Audit, Control, and Security Newsletter

2017, vol. 55, n°1, pp.1-17

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

The focus of this study is the relationship between chief audit executives (CAEs) and senior management (SM) and its relationship with internal audit (IA) effectiveness. The study reveals differences between more and less effective IA functions and offers explanations by studying organizational, personal, and interpersonal factors within the German corporate governance context. The findings show that the pattern of interaction between CAEs and SM is a key determinant of IA effectiveness. This study highlights the danger of viewing customer satisfaction as the key measure of IA effectiveness since in practice expectations can vary significantly and as sometimes very little may be demanded. Moreover, CAEs typically adjust to expectations, upward and downward. CAEs can drive the agenda as well. When it comes to personality factors, “Fingerspitzengefühl” and swimming in the organization characterize the successful internal auditor. IA designations for CAEs were not found to be of added value. At the organizational level, the findings show that companies that are considered as “hidden champions” demand and benefit from effective IA practices