Emergence and Stabilization of Performance Accounts for the Circular Economy: The Role of Representations

Justyna Bekier, Andrea Beye, Cristiana Parisi

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


This paper explores the role of representations in the emergence and stabilization of accounting technologies for circular economy, focusing on accounts designed to measure and evaluate performance of stakeholders in a large-scale innovation project. As circular economy is an inherently vague and subjective notion (Kirchherr et al. 2017), its implementation through multi-stakeholder projects is bound to face conflicts between their different values, goals and frames of action. An organization of such projects resembles what Stark (2009) dubbed heterarchy, characterized by differing evaluative principles, distributed authority and friction. This study of a Horizon 2020-funded innovation project follows, via ethnographic methods, the performance accounts ‘in the making’ (Chua 1995), before the system turns into a black box (Latour 1987). A key element in the development of accounts in this innovation project are the inscriptions that provide representation of the objectives, strategies, and activities of different project members. In this case, representations accommodate different understandings of circularity and logics of action, and allow them to coexist. Through an analysis of observational and textual data, supplemented with interviews, this study explores in further detail the role of representations in fabrication of accounts, investigating their potential ‘compromising’ role (Chenhall et al. 2013).
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2021
BegivenhedNordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021: STS and the Future as a Matter of Collective Concern - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Danmark
Varighed: 20 maj 202121 maj 2021


KonferenceNordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021
LokationCopenhagen Business School


  • Circular economy
  • Accounting technologies
  • Inscriptions
  • Representation
  • Management accounting
  • Actor-network theory