Over the past decade, benchmarking has increasingly gained foothold in the construction industry. The predominant research, perceptions and uses of benchmarking are valued so strongly and uniformly, that what may seem valuable, is actually abstaining researchers and practitioners from studying and questioning the concept objectively. This paper addresses the underlying nature of benchmarking, and accounts for the importance of focusing attention on the sociological impacts benchmarking has in organizations. To understand these sociological impacts, benchmarking research needs to transcend the perception of benchmarking systems as secondary and derivative and instead studying benchmarking as constitutive of social relations and as irredeemably social phenomena. I have attempted to do so in this paper by treating benchmarking using a calculative practice perspective, and describing how this perspective develops more thorough knowledge about benchmarking and challenges the current dominating rationales. Hereby, it is argued that benchmarking is not a neutral practice. On the contrary it is highly influenced by organizational ambitions and strategies, with the potentials to transform organizational relations, behaviors and actions. In closing it is briefly considered how to study the calculative practices of benchmarking.
Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organisation : Shaping the Construction/society Nexus: Volume 3: Construction in Society, 2011, p. 631-640
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6th Nordic Confererence on Construction Economics and Organisation, 2011