Framing numbers “at a distance”: Intangible performance reporting in a theater

Andreas Sundstrom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how the framing of numbers may be related to the
    distance between the information provider and information users.
    Design/methodology/approach – The design of the paper is a case study, in an organizational
    situation where there are perceived problems in producing stable inscriptions for reporting to users at
    a distance. The study focuses on the top management level in a small-sized publicly-funded theater.
    The qualitative research design incorporates interviews, observations and document analysis.
    Findings – The paper illustrates how knowledge and understanding of the circumstances of
    measurement form a substantial part of what constitutes “distance” between an accounting user and
    the referred context. It is argued that the framing of numbers may be utilized as a means to control
    action at a distance. The findings also imply that the use of measurements regarding intangibles may be perceived as useful for purposes beyond internal management.
    Originality/value – The paper contributes in two ways to prior research on accountability relations and accounting as an enabler of action at a distance: it elaborates on what constitutes a distance, and it also adds an emphasis on reciprocal behavior by the provider of information in an accountability relation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)260
    Number of pages278
    JournalJournal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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