The Counter-performativity of Calculative Practices: Mobilising Rankings of Intellectual Capital

Christina Boedker*, Kar Ming Chong, Jan Mouritsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article investigates accounting as a counter-performative practice. For two years and nine months, we followed State Corporation, which participated in a ranking exercise using the Intellectual Asset Health Check launched by the Australian Federal Government in 2010. We find that sceptical employees seized the opportunity made possible by the ranking system to air alternative strategies. Rather than working in a predictable or performative manner, the ranking system was taken out of the hands of management and used against them. The study contributes to extant literatures by showing how accounting can become a tool to mount and sustain resistance. The ranking system, and the ideology it represented, became counter-productive because it produced effects that were ‘counter’ or contrary to its own intent and ideals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102100
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: September 18, 2019


  • Counter-performativity
  • Intellectual assets
  • Ranking
  • Resistance

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