Management of performance and performance of management: Getting to work on time in the Indian bureaucracy

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Abstract

This paper departs from the analytic lens of citizen versus the state and brings to attention intra-bureaucratic interactions in the wake of Aadhaar by focusing on the ongoing implementation of an Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS). Based on ethnographic research in a North Indian state, I show how AEBAS’ goals of performance evaluation and management were partially, and unintentionally, circumvented by staff members, in part owing to the socio-technical design of the system. I argue that an unintended consequence of projects using digital media technologies to quantify and manage performance is their tendency to produce a performance of management, and that scholars and activists must pay attention to such disjunctures inherent in projects of command and control.

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Solanki, A. (2019). Management of performance and performance of management: Getting to work on time in the Indian bureaucracy. South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, 42(3), 588–605. https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2019.1603262

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