The Use of Graphics in Promoting Management Ideas: An Analysis of the Balanced Scorecard, 1992-2010

Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011

32 Pages Posted: 14 May 2010 Last revised: 27 Jan 2012

See all articles by Clinton Free

Clinton Free

University of Sydney Business School

Sandy Qu

York University - Schulich School of Business

Date Written: April 30, 2010

Abstract

This paper focuses on the role of graphics in the propagation of the balanced scorecard through the persuasive capacity of graphism to “scientize” management ideas. Scientization, through professionalization of knowledge, rationalization of management and the empowerment of human actorhood, is widely seen as an important element in embedding new management concepts, tools and techniques; a determination based on some version of the positivist belief that science offers a privileged access to reality. We demonstrate that the use of graphics has played an important role in promoting the claims made by proponents of the balanced scorecard by portraying the technique as both scientific and as descended from a venerable tradition of knowledge. Specifically, we argue that graphics are mobilized to (1) enable the technique to be portrayed as developing linearly and cumulatively towards the present vantage, from flawed measurement to management break-through, (2) enable promoters of the balanced scorecard to defensibly extend claims about the balanced scorecard (i.e., rationalize management through the visual representation of causality and strategic focus) and (3) open up multiple interpretations and iterations of concepts which aid and enable the empowerment of human actorhood (i.e., management).

JEL Classification: M46

Suggested Citation

Free, Clinton Wallace and Qu, Sandy Q., The Use of Graphics in Promoting Management Ideas: An Analysis of the Balanced Scorecard, 1992-2010 (April 30, 2010). Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1605582

Clinton Wallace Free

University of Sydney Business School ( email )

H69 Economics and Business Building
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
2006 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sydney.edu.au/business/about/our-people/academic-staff/clinton-free.html

Sandy Q. Qu (Contact Author)

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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