Power, control and computer-based performance monitoring: repertoires, resistance and subjectivities

Ball, Kirstie and Wilson, David (2000). Power, control and computer-based performance monitoring: repertoires, resistance and subjectivities. Organization Studies, 21(3) pp. 539–565.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840600213003


This paper examines Computer-based Performance Monitoring (CBPM) in two UK financial services organizations. In doing so, it examines and critiques the existing manner in which this area has been theorized by both traditional and critical organization theorists. It then offers an alternative analysis of CBPM in terms of power, control and resistance, which involves the close interrogation of subject positioning within the speech of those who are subject to and manage this technology. By examining subject positions in interpretive repertoires, the paper demonstrates how power, control and resistance are constituted at an individual level and are specifically linked to the use (and abuse) of CBPM technology. It then further considers the nature and origins of the interpretive repertoires in relation to their organizational contexts, describing the differential circulation of disciplinary power in each. CBPM is thus understood as a politically neutral technology of power, which, when mobilized by management and discursively interwoven into practice becomes a potent force within local organizational sites. The central message of this paper is that it is possible to reveal the intertwining of individual and institutional discourses purely by examining technologies, practices and subjectivities in local organizational sites.

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