About every second year (sometimes more frequenly), Score hosts a Score Lecture on Organization, to which a distinguished international scholar is invited to present his or her research on organization. Score Lectures on Organization are open to a wider audience.

The Score Lecture on Organization 2018 was held on December 6 by Cris Shore, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Auckland. See the lecture on film here:




‘A Conspiracy of Illusion’? Performance-Based Metrics, New Public Management and the Politics of Accountability.

Ever since the Scientific Management Movement of the 1920s attempts have been made to harness quantitative measurement and calculation to foster workplace efficiency, inform policy, organise the present and plan for the future. While there is nothing novel about using metrics and statistics to shape performance, what is new is the extent to which metricised management has become institutionalised, financialised and extended thanks to the spread of New Public Management. The growth of ever-more intrusive systems for monitoring and measuring individual and organisational performance to drive efficiency, set targets and increase financial control has become a defining feature of our times. In this lecture I explore how performance indicators are increasingly being put to work in higher education and the implications – social, political and epistemological - of this reliance on numbers as instruments of university management and governance.

I ask, what sorts of social reality do metrics create? What happens when performance indicators and standardised templates replace professional judgment? What is at stake in the seemingly relentless insistence on metrics-inspired efficiency, rationality and evidence-based policymaking? I suggest that posing these questions is a useful step towards understanding how managerialist logics have come to dominate people’s lives and subjectivities and what we might do to reclaim ‘livable spaces’ from those institutions that have been colonised by the instrumental rationalities of neoliberal policymakers.

The Score Lectures on Organization