Compromises and Compromising: Management Accounting and Decision-making in a Creative Organisation

Paola Trevisan*, Jan Mouritsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper explores how actors handle multiple values in decision-making practices in a creative organisation. Drawing on Boltanski and Thévenot’s notion of compromise as a situation that includes and transcends multiple principles of value for the sake of a common, yet unarticulated, good, this paper analyses valuation practices that lead to production decisions in an opera house. It proposes compromising and compromises as two modalities that are used to understand the role of accounting and control objects in decision-making in cultural and creative organizations. In compromising situations, actors mobilize relations of equivalence that enable them to trade off, negotiate and mediate different principles through dynamic valuation practices that involve critiques and justifications. Here, both accounting and inspiration objects are mobilised to persuade actors, constrain decisions and mediate between values. In compromises, in contrast, actors create ambiguous associations between industrial, market and inspiration values that suspend critiques and requests for clarifications. Here, accounting and controls are mobilised as ambiguous objects, both becoming a resource for a higher common good and articulating an industrial order of worth that is plastic and vibrant.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100839
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 27 February 2023.


  • Orders of worth
  • Compromising
  • Compromise
  • Ambiguous obejcts
  • Cultural and creative industries
  • Decision-making
  • Accounting and controls

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