The Maieutic Force of Mediating Instruments: Compromising in Capital Budgeting

Silvana Revellino, Jan Mouritsen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper investigates how compromising plays a role when framing, developing and appraising capital budgeting projects. Motivated by Miller & O’Leary’s (1997, 2005a, 2005b, 2007) call for further research on capital budgeting to include not only valuation practices but also practices for managing and coordinating complex investments in inter-organizational spaces, the paper explores the role of the Chronoprogram in managing compromises and directing attention to concerns in relation to the development of an Italian piece of motorway(the Variante di Valico).The Chronoprogram acts as a mediating instrument which leads multiple and dispersed actors to compromising on the investment project. In these compromising spaces, which enable questioning to emerge, disagreements and controversies are temporarily appeased even in the absence of an interest alignment. The mediating properties of the Chronoprogram transform actions in unexpected directions which reconfigure the capital budgeting complex investment project and also extend the motorway object. The paper thus further develops the notion of mediating instruments by highlighting their maieutic ability to address the dialectics between matters of fact and matters of concern. It is in this maieutic capacity that endorses the dialectic between facts which give rise to concerns whiles the last offering possibilities to renovate facts that the work of mediation happens.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventIPA Conference 2015: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference - Stockholm Business School, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 8 Jul 201510 Jul 2015
Conference number: 30


ConferenceIPA Conference 2015
LocationStockholm Business School
Internet address


  • Capital budgeting
  • Maieutic machine
  • Compromise
  • Actor Network Theory
  • Chronoprogram
  • Construction Industry

Cite this