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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  • Best Paper Award

    Sundstrom, Andreas (Recipient), 2011

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Outstanding Paper Award

    Sundstrom, Andreas (Recipient), 2012

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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