European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 928: Multiple measures, inscription instability and action at a distance: performance measurement practices in the pharmaceutical industry

Claire Dambrin () and Keith Robson

Abstract: In this paper the authors explore performance measurement practices in pharmaceutical companies with particular reference to the inscribing (or ‘tracing’) of pharmaceutical representatives (‘drug reps’) responsible for the promotion of prescription medications to general practitioners and other healthcare professionals. They draw upon Latour’s sociology of translation to explore the qualities of the inscriptions practiced in French pharmaceutical companies to control drug reps at a distance. Within the context of regulatory constraints upon drug representatives’ activities and the reporting of pharmaceutical prescriptions in France, the authors analyze the inscriptions devices and explore problems of interessement and instability of ‘performance measurement’ inscriptions. The paper concludes with a discussion of the concept of stability and how processes of ambiguity, uncertainty and professional identity may contribute to stabilizing inscriptions and tackling problems of action at a distance.

Keywords: performance measurement; pharmaceutical industry

JEL-codes: L12; L25

58 pages, March 1, 2009

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