This paper considers management accounting technique, specifically activity-based cost management, as a modelling process. Particularly in Anglo-Saxon capitalism, various institutional pressures have worked to dissociate management from expertise in the managed process. Management of this character can only engage with concrete processes by modelling them in terms which it can comprehend and with which it can engage. The result is a market in management and accounting techniques for producing these simplified representations. Those discussed in this paper consist essentially of a reporting framework which is imposed on the expert practitioner, so that the process is re-described in modelled form. Precisely because the resulting models are simplified, however, the consequences of managing through them are dysfunctional in various ways.\ud In order to show the underlying similarities between apparently unconnected instances of this process, the paper discusses some attempts to open up aesthetic design to management control before proceeding to the analysis of activity-based cost management.Peer-reviewedPost-prin
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