Quantified control in healthcare work: Suggestions for future research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper outlines promising avenues for empirical research on quantified control in healthcare work. A review of key insights from accounting, organization studies, and the emergent sociology of quantification indicates that numbers are productive as well as deceptive and seductive, that they enable control but can be evaded, and that they typically have unintended effects. It remains to be further explored how multiple forms of measurement and quantified control play out in everyday healthcare work. Other questions worth probing concern the limits and capabilities of numbers as a shared language, the differential and disciplinary effects of numbers on social groups, the use of numbers for impression management, and how people manage to resist or mobilize numbers for different purposes. Calling for additional qualitative, close-up studies, the paper proposes a research focus on everyday practices and the interactions of diverse control measures. It sets out several fruitful methodological pathways, both the well-established approaches of ethnography and Actor-Network Theory and the more novel approaches of investigating numbers as communicative acts or as dramaturgical performances.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • calculative practice, quantification, control, ethnography, healthcare
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalFinancial Accountability & Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Jan 26
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes