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The French Tableau de bord and the American Balanced Scorecard: a critical analysis

The Balanced Scorecard approach to management control, as developed by [The Balanced Scorecard: measures that drive performance. Harvard Bus. Rev. 1992 (January–February) 71], has generated a great deal of interest, at least in academic circles and in consulting firms, and it has been promoted by its authors as a novelty. This is surprising for French accounting scholars and practitioners who developed a similar technique in the 1930s called the Tableau de bord. This paper critically analyzes the Balanced Scorecard and the Tableau de bord using a constructivist approach. A constructivist approach is based on three key concepts. First, there is the concept of a trialectic subject–object–project (instead of the more typical dialectic between subject and object). Second, there is the concept of sense (defined as a particular view of the world which underpins the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and organizations, providing them with an orientation and a coherence between thought and action). Third, there is the concept of consensus (defined as a shared meaning about the world). Using a constructivist approach allows us to identify three dimensions of management control (i.e. political, strategic and economic). The constructivist approach also permits a deeper exploration of metaphors, seen as a privileged way of making sense out of the world. We use the constructivist approach to critically examine the Tableau de bord and the Balanced Scorecard, highlighting their excessive focus on economic criteria, combined with a persistent lack of attention to the political and strategic dimensions of management control. We also use the constructivist approach to highlight the most obvious point of comparison between the two management control techniques, that is, their obsessive and reductionist use of the mechanical metaphor. Enlarging on this metaphor and introducing other metaphors provides us with a new way to view management control and suggests other tracks to be explored in the development of management control research.

The de فرانسوی و کارت امتیازی متوازن آمریکا: تحلیل انتقادی. دیدگاه‌های انتقادی در مورد حسابداری، ۱۶ (۶)، ۶۴۵ - ۶۶۴

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