Performance Management and the Audited Self: Quantified Personhood Beyond Neoliberal Governmentality

Shore, Cris and Wright, Susan. 2018. Performance Management and the Audited Self: Quantified Personhood Beyond Neoliberal Governmentality. In: Btihaj Ajana, ed. Metric Culture: Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices. London: Emerald Publishing, pp. 11-36. ISBN 9781787432901 [Book Section]

Metricised Management and the Quantified Self .pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (288kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

What counts as evidence of good performance, behaviour or character? While quantitative metrics have long been used to measure performance and productivity in schools, factories and workplaces, what is striking today is the extent to which these calculative methods and rationalities are being extended into new areas of life through the global spread of performance indicators (PIs) and performance management systems. What began as part of the neoliberalising projects of the 1980s with a few strategically chosen performance indicators to give greater state control over the public sector through contract management and mobilising ‘users’ has now proliferated to include almost every aspect of professional work. The use of metrics has also expanded from managing professionals to controlling entire populations. This paper focuses on the rise of these new forms of audit and their effects in two areas: First, the alliance being formed between state-collected data and that collected by commercial companies on their customers through, e.g. loyalty cards and credit checks. Second, China’s new social credit system, which allocates individual scores to each citizen and uses rewards of better or privileged service to entice people to volunteer information about themselves, publish their ‘ratings’ and compete with friends for status points. This is a new development in the use of audit to discipline simultaneously whole populations and responsibilise individuals to perform according to new state and commercial norms about the reliable/conforming ‘good’ citizen.

Item Type:

Book Section


Performance management, metrics, auditing


24 September 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Oct 2020 10:26

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 18:33


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)