Accounting for trust: some empirical evidence

Inga-Lill Johansson, Gudrun Baldvinsdottir

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    50 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper is based on case studies of performance-evaluation routines in two small companies in Sweden—one firm of consultants and one manufacturing company. In the firm of consultants the research was organised as a longitudinal case study. The empirical material was collected over a period of four years and consisted of different types of interviews, video recordings, field observations and sociograms. The research at the manufacturing company was organised as an action research study. One of the authors remained with the company for over a year, observing and participating in real-life situations. In line with Old Institutional Economics institutions are seen as the social linkage of human activities created and recreated by habitual thoughts and actions. Unlike earlier studies that see performance evaluation as a tool for ensuring improvements in organisational performance, our cases reveal no such clear relationship. By focusing on the accountant’s part in the action–reaction chain between evaluator and evaluated, it is possible to unveil evidence that performance evaluation is dependent on trust, as too are the production and reproduction of performance-evaluation routines
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-234
    Number of pages16
    JournalManagement Accounting Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • Performance evaluation
    • Accounting routines
    • Trust carrier


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