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This volume presents state-of-the-art research and thinking on the analysis of justification, evaluation and critique in organizations, as inspired by the foundational…
This volume presents state-of-the-art research and thinking on the analysis of justification, evaluation and critique in organizations, as inspired by the foundational ideas of French Pragmatist Sociology’s economies of worth (EW) framework. In this introduction, we begin by underlining the EW framework’s importance in sociology and social theory more generally and discuss its relative neglect within organizational theory, at least until now. We then present an overview of the framework’s intellectual roots, and for those who are new to this particular theoretical domain, offer a brief introduction to the theory’s main concepts and core assumptions. This we follow with an overview of the contributions included in this volume. We conclude by highlighting the EW framework’s important yet largely untapped potential for advancing our understanding of organizations more broadly. Collectively, the contributions in this volume help demonstrate the potential of the EW framework to (1) advance current understanding of organizational processes by unpacking justification dynamics at the individual level of analysis, (2) refresh critical perspectives in organization theory by providing them with pragmatic foundations, (3) expand and develop the study of valuation and evaluation in organizations by reconsidering the notion of worth, and finally (4) push the boundaries of the framework itself by questioning and fine tuning some of its core assumptions. Taken as a whole, this volume not only carves a path for a deeper embedding of the EW approach into contemporary thinking about organizations, it also invites readers to refine and expand it by confronting it with a wider range of diverse empirical contexts of interest to organizational scholars.
The authors set out to study institutional work under complexity building on the struggle for legitimacy of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in…
The authors set out to study institutional work under complexity building on the struggle for legitimacy of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in Israel as their case study. The authors took a discursive approach and were interested in what actors claim they do. The findings suggest that actors manipulate the intentions and outcomes of their acts, thereby claiming for actorhood or negating it. These differential constructions are not random but echo the norms of the discursive spaces within which they are presented and interact with other actors’ work. Overall, the authors argue that actorhood is not a pre-condition for institutional work, nor is it its outcome, but rather an integral part thereof.
This paper seeks to understand how new practices that challenge established norms and values become institutionalized by studying the development of corporate philanthropy…
This paper seeks to understand how new practices that challenge established norms and values become institutionalized by studying the development of corporate philanthropy in France over three decades (1979–2011). Our inductive qualitative study uncovers the processes that enable actors at both field- and organizational-levels to enhance a new practice’s internal and external legitimacy, ultimately leading to its institutionalization. In particular, we identify the central role of a community of practice as a bridge between the field-level, purposive interventions (theorizing, influencing policy) of an institutional entrepreneur and the organizational-level, emergent interventions (mobilizing, embedding) of frontline practitioners experimenting with the new divergent practice, thereby enabling its legitimation and, ultimately, its institutionalization. As such, our findings contribute to refining our understanding of institutionalization processes as inherently distributed and to uncovering communities of practice as the missing link between “heroic” entrepreneurs’ interventions and the hidden work of frontline practitioners implementing the new practice.
Recent research develops theory and evidence to understand how organizations come to be seen as “actors” with specified features and properties, a core concern for…
Recent research develops theory and evidence to understand how organizations come to be seen as “actors” with specified features and properties, a core concern for phenomenological institutionalism. The authors use evidence from changes in research designs in the organizational study of institutional logics as an empirical strategy to add fresh evidence to the debates about the institutional construction of organizations as actors. The case is the research literature on the institutional logics perspective, a literature in which organizational and institutional theorists grapple with long-time social theory questions about nature and context of action and more contemporary debates about the dynamics of social orders. With rapid growth since the early 1990s, this research program has elaborated and proliferated in ways meant to advance the study of societal orders, frames, and practices in diverse inter- and intra-organizational contexts. The study identifies two substantive trends over the observation period: A shift in research design from field-level studies to organization-specific contexts, where conflicts are prominent in the organization, and a shift in the conception of logic transitions, originally from one dominant logic to another, then more attention to co-existence or blending of logics. Based on this evidence, the authors identify a typology of four available research genres that mark a changed conception of organizations as actors. The case of institutional logics makes visible the link between research designs and research outcomes, and it provides new evidence for the institutional processes that construct organizational actorhood.
On Justification: Economies of Worth (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991/2006) was a synthetic and comprehensive parsing of common goods, goods that could and had to be justified…
On Justification: Economies of Worth (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991/2006) was a synthetic and comprehensive parsing of common goods, goods that could and had to be justified in public. In response to Bourdieu’s critical sociology, they rather provided a robust and disciplined sociology of critique, the situated requirements of justification. They refused power and violence as integral to the operability of justification. They emphasized the ways in which conventions of worth afforded coordination, not their constitution of or by domination. They refused to make either capitalism, or the state, into primary motors of social order. Indeed, they refused social sphere, structure, or group as the ground of the good. They emphasized the cognitive capacities of agents. There was no passion, no desire, no bodily affect in these justified worlds. There wasn’t even any account of production of value, of children, or of money. And while they recognized the metaphysical aspect of the good and even used Christianity as a template for one of their cités, they rigorously excluded religion. The theory was designed to analyze moments of controversy, not quiescence or quietude. In his subsequent work, Boltanski aimed to address these absences. In this essay, we examine how Boltanski sought to restore love, violence, religion, production, and institution across five texts: Love and Justice as Competences (1990/2012), The New Spirit of Capitalism, co-authored with Eve Chiapello (1999/2007), The Foetal Condition: A Sociology of Engendering and Abortion (2004/2013), On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation (2009/2011), and La «Collection», Une Forme Neuve du Capitalisme – La Mise en Valeur Economique du Passé et ses Effets (2014) co-authored with Arnaud Esquerre.
This chapter reconsiders commonly held views on the ownership and management of private property, contrasting capitalist and simple property, particularly in relation to…
This chapter reconsiders commonly held views on the ownership and management of private property, contrasting capitalist and simple property, particularly in relation to how a firm shareholder governance model has shaped society. This consideration is motivated by the scale and scope of the modern global crisis, which has combined financial, economic, social and cultural dimensions to produce world disenchantment.
By contrasting an exchange value standpoint with a use value perspective, this chapter explicates current conditions in which neither the state nor the market prevail in organising economic activity (i.e. cooperative forms of governance and community-created brand value).
This chapter offers recommendations related to formalised conditions for collective action and definitions of common guiding principles that can facilitate new expressions of the principles of coordination. Such behaviours can support the development of common resources, which then should lead to a re-appropriation of the world.
It is necessary to think of enterprises outside a company or firm context when reflecting on the end purpose and means of collective, citizen action. From a methodological standpoint, current approaches or studies that view an enterprise as an organisation, without differentiating it from a company, create a deadlock in relation to entrepreneurial collective action. The absence of a legal definition of enterprise reduces understanding and evaluations of its performance to simply the performance by a company. The implicit shift thus facilitates the assimilation of one with the other, in a funnel effect that reduces collective projects to the sole projects of capital providers.
Because forsaking society as it stands is a radical response, this historical moment makes it necessary to revisit the ideals on which modern societies build, including the philosophy of freedom for all. This utopian concept has produced an ideology that is limited by capitalist notions of private property.