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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.
Purpose – This chapter investigates the role of enabling organizations in the processes whereby institutional investors collectively influence corporate managers on…
Purpose – This chapter investigates the role of enabling organizations in the processes whereby institutional investors collectively influence corporate managers on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. We develop a framework combining stakeholder and collective action theory to explain how institutional investors influence corporations through collective engagement and to specify how enabling organizations influence this process.
Methodology/approach – To evaluate our framework, we investigate the role of the organizational platform provided by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative in supporting institutional investors’ collaborative engagement with corporations on ESG issues.
Findings – Our findings clarify how investors enhance their sources of power, legitimacy and urgency and attract managers’ attention through collaborative engagement, and show how they manage these attributes to reshape the legitimacy and urgency of their claims in the eyes of managers. Our results also show how enabling organizations such as the PRI initiative facilitate the emergence of collective action by lowering barriers to entry and providing a mobilizing structure, support collaborative efforts by adding their own legitimacy, normative power and persistence to the collaborative engagement, and create conditions for a lasting dialogue between investors and managers by providing a hybrid organizational space.
Social implications – In explaining how to enhance institutional investors’ collective action on ESG issues, this paper shows how we could reorient financial market forces toward sustainability.
Originality/value of paper – The paper benefited from a unique access to confidential and internal data from the UN-PRI initiative and provides a new framework.
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.
In this introduction, the authors outline some critical reflections on the sociology of knowledge within management and organization theory. Based on a review of various…
In this introduction, the authors outline some critical reflections on the sociology of knowledge within management and organization theory. Based on a review of various works that form a sociology of organizational knowledge, the authors identify three approaches that have become particularly prominent ways by which scholars explore how knowledge about organizations and management is produced: First, reflective and opinion essays that organization studies scholars offer on the basis of what can be learned from personal experience; second, descriptive craft-guides that are based on more-or-less comprehensive surveys on doing research; third, papers based on systematic research that are built upon rigorous collection and analysis of data about the production of knowledge. Whereas in the studies of organizing the authors prioritize the third approach, that is knowledge produced based on systematic empirical research, in examining our own work the authors tend to privilege the other two types, reflective articles and surveys. In what follows the authors highlight this gap, offer some explanations thereof, and call for a better appreciation of all three ways to offer rich understandings of organizations, work and management as well as a fruitful sociology of knowledge in our field.
Purpose – This chapter introduces this book’s topics, purpose, and key themes. It summarizes the purpose of the book which is to explore through both…
Purpose – This chapter introduces this book’s topics, purpose, and key themes. It summarizes the purpose of the book which is to explore through both descriptive and conceptual means the use of power by institutional investors in bringing about changes to corporate behavior, so that corporations engage in improved environmental, social, and governance actions.
Methodology/approach – This chapter reviews literature and chapters and offers conceptual development.
Findings – The forces driving the actions of institutional investors are different from many other shareholders being determined by a unique set of costs, benefits, and objectives. As such three general categories of institutional elements constrain and guide this behavior: regulative elements which include constitutions, laws, and property rights; normative elements which include informal norms, values, and codes of conduct; and cultural-cognitive elements which include shared beliefs, identities, and mental models. It highlights the role of regulation and “soft” law, the impact of values and customs, and the way sense-making and cognition impacts on decisions and actions.
Practical/social implications – The chapter highlights the interplay between hard and soft law in progressing the agenda. It seems that hard law is a hygiene factor forming the base on which initial gains can be made in the application of institutional shareholder power. Moreover, the use of soft law such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the newly founded Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, institutional investors can gain improved disclosure of sustainability performance to incorporate into their investment decisions. Moreover, it highlights the gaps in the use of the power that exists. The movement is still emerging with the focus on corporate governance and environmental considerations primarily. There are still improvements to be made for institutional investors in the social aspects of the responsibility agenda as well in pushing companies to be more transparent, improve reporting, and engage in more long-term decision-making.
Originality/value – The chapter contributes to the debate on governance convergence between liberal market economies (LMEs) and coordinated market economies (CMEs). It is important to look beyond national characteristics alone and demonstrate that organizations, even though they are impacted by institutions, are not necessarily passive acceptors of their fate. Hence this chapter highlights that in expanding from a dyadic approach comparing LMEs and CMEs, the strategic choice of decision-makers, the power of the actors, and the processes used by institutional investors in changing corporate behavior are important considerations.