Accepted Paper:

Performance indicators to unfold the assetization of drinking water  

Author:

Laurent Beduneau-Wang (Ecole Polytechnique - Université Paris-Saclay)

Paper short abstract:

Our paper deals with the process of assetization of water. Based on empirical case study, it aims at defining and categorizing which kind of value(s) and assets are brought through water service delivery and its set of performance indicators.

Paper long abstract:

Our paper deals with the value of water, more precisely, with the process of assetization of municipal water management services. Based on empirical case study with a constructivist "framework", inspired from grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss), it aims at defining and categorizing which kind of value(s) and assets are brought through water service delivery and its set of performance indicators. It is a "thick description" (Geertz) in a long-term perspective, based on historical archives from mid-19th century and ethnographic observation. To what extent, does water management service create value(s) and adaptive assets ?

In the early 2000's, public-private model in water management in France is questioned, reevaluated by local voluteers' organizations, the medias and some politicians. Performance indicators began to multiply strongly. Which kind of value(s) and assets creation lie in that set of performance indicators?

As a management tool negociated between a private company and municipalities, it reflects their respective vision and concerns about what should be or should not be, through related financial penalties, called value.

Indicators create knowledge, cognitive assets, about operational activities. Indicators don't only create knowledge, they also create new social links, organizational assets. They generate new relationships between entities and people which have to collaborate in order to produce, validate, control and adapt indicators. Not only should performance indicators be considered a way of controlling operational activities, but also a process to generate relations, to learn, to innovate and, implicitely, to make new professionals, new values, new assets and new capital to emerge.

Panel T005
Turning Things into Assets