Reactivity and Resistance to Evaluation Devices
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonValuation Studies. 2019, 6 (1), 31-61. 10.3384/VS.2001-5992.196131
This paper explores the trajectory of a novel evaluation device for customer satisfaction with service encounters and the performance of financial advisors. Drawing on literature on quantification and commensuration, boundary objects and bipartite collaboration, we explore the set-up and collaboration between employer and trade union in the design phase and the actual use and translation of the valuation system. The data stems from a multi-year, multi-site study of banking in two Nordic countries. The analysis illustrates how, when some operational managers started using the device to suit their own purposes, the process morphed from an initial agreement into a dispute. The paper shows how quantitative systems of evaluation easily diverge from their initially proposed purposes when in use, producing reactivity and resistance among organizational members. Some financial advisors were positive about the evaluation device and the opportunity it afforded to improve performance, whereas others regarded it as another surveillance attempt for enhancing management control. We also contribute to the literature by elaborating on the relationship between reactivity and resistance on individual and collective levels.