Publication Details

Keevers, L., Treleaven, L., Sykes, C. & Darcy, M. (2012). Made to measure: taming practices with results-based accountability. Organization Studies, 33 (1), 97-120.


This paper focuses on what happens when accountability regimes, represented in calculative planning processes, migrate onto situated, sociomaterial practices. Specifically, the article investigates what happens when the practices of results-based accountability (RBA) are translated into the social justice practices of locally-based community organizations. Based on the tenets of contemporary practice theory and a threeyear participatory action research project with community organizations in Australia, the study illustrates that performance measurement and accountability frameworks such as RBA are not technologies that peer and measure innocently and disinterestedly from a distance. Rather, RBA, as a bundle of materialdiscursive practices, is part of the performance measuring apparatus creating differences that include some things and exclude others. We articulate some of the organizing practices of social justice in a locally-based community organization, follow their translation into RBA planning practices and then return to analyse the introduction of RBA practices into the daily work of an organization. In this way, we demonstrate how situated and ongoing practices begin to unravel through intra-action with RBA boundary-making practices and its redrawn relations of accountability.



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