Opening the black box of cost systems: a field study in a social housing organisation


Speaker:Christopher Chapman, Imperial College
Date: Wednesday 22 January 2014
Time: 14.00 - 15.30
Location: Matrix Lecture Theatre, Building One

Further details

This paper aims at investigating how a cost system is produced, promoted and maintained by a network of actors, over time. Informed by an indepth qualitative field study in a French public social housing organization, and drawing on ANT theorisation, we analyse the cost system as a dominant, consensual and accepted calculative frame, resulting from a framing process. In particular, we examine an episode of contestation of the cost systems features. Highlighting the different perspectives on how costs should be calculated, notably amongst the accountants, the analysis emphasises the role a dominant coalition plays in the promotion and maintenance of the cost system. The analysis also shows that certain framing could persist across time and networks.