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How is moral legitimacy established in pluralist contexts where multiple moral frameworks co-exist and compete? Situations of moral multiplexity complicate not only…
How is moral legitimacy established in pluralist contexts where multiple moral frameworks co-exist and compete? Situations of moral multiplexity complicate not only whether an organization or practice is legitimate but also which criteria should be used to establish moral legitimacy. We argue that moral legitimacy can be thought of as the property of a dynamic dialogical process in which relations between moral schemes are constantly (re-)negotiated through dynamic exchange with audiences. Drawing on Boltanski and Thévenot’s ‘orders of worth’ framework, we propose a process model of how three types of truces may be negotiated: transcendence, compromise, antagonism. While each can create moral legitimacy in pluralistic contexts, legitimacy is not a binary variable but varying in degrees of scope and certainty.
Myers and Cato explore the cooperative sector in the areas of health and social services reforms, and in particular, the rediscovery of mutualism. The authors build on…
Myers and Cato explore the cooperative sector in the areas of health and social services reforms, and in particular, the rediscovery of mutualism. The authors build on research of 17 case studies, which was undertaken on behalf of the Wales Co-operative Centre, to raise questions and provoke discussion about social enterprise and cooperatives operating as service providers. Myers and Cato call for taking the “mutual moment” as an opportunity to rethink the provision of public services without losing the ethos of public service and to build public value. More than this, their thought-provoking piece also gives us opportunity to critically reflect upon the changing relationship between state, private, and third sectors. The authors first analyze the progressive move from public to private provision and then look at the potential to move from private to mutual. Finally, they ask the question whether co-constructing mutualism and public services is the way forward to reconfiguring public services in a way that is both democratic and desirable.
In this paper, the authors explore the specific nature of material-based legitimation and examine how it differs from other forms of legitimation. Prior studies of…
In this paper, the authors explore the specific nature of material-based legitimation and examine how it differs from other forms of legitimation. Prior studies of institutional legitimacy have predominantly focused on the discursive and iconic aspects of legitimation, with much less focus placed on the role of materiality. To advance our argument, the authors introduce the notion of enactive legitimation. The authors suggest that legitimation is derived from and supported by the ongoing engagement and interaction with materials and material-based practices. To elaborate our argument, the authors study a case of the use of material signification to legitimize a new financial product within Islamic banking. The authors show that the legitimacy of the product is grounded in materials and the materiality of a number of ritualized practices. Materials and practices, however, also impose their own specific constraints on the process, and do so in ways that are more evident than when legitimation is based on signs and symbols (both language and images). The paper contributes to practice-based institutionalism by leveraging one of the central tenets of practice theory to extend the understanding of legitimation. It also illustrates what practice-based sensitivity may look like in action.
‘Acceleration’, that is, the performance of activities in ever-shorter periods of time, is a distinctive feature of contemporary organizations and societies that is…
‘Acceleration’, that is, the performance of activities in ever-shorter periods of time, is a distinctive feature of contemporary organizations and societies that is reflected in, and driven by startups’ attempts to scale up their businesses in ever-faster ways. Although prior research has highlighted that temporary organizing is a key way to accelerate the startup process, little is known about how actors do so. Based on a one-year ethnographic study at a startup accelerator, the authors explore how actors enact temporary organizing to attempt to accelerate the startup process. Their analysis shows that this process involves a plurality of partly conflicting temporal structures. As their study shows, such conflicts invoke tensions that actors live out in their daily activities. The authors identify three temporal practices – sequencing, freezing, and merging – through which actors engaged in temporary organizing enact acceleration in the startup process by reconciling these temporal structures. Their study has implications for understanding time in the expanding literature on temporary organizing and acceleration.
Purpose – The aim of this chapter is to deconstruct the idea of a ‘Big Society’. We do so by underlining the left libertarian tradition in which civil society led economic…
Purpose – The aim of this chapter is to deconstruct the idea of a ‘Big Society’. We do so by underlining the left libertarian tradition in which civil society led economic activity such as the solidarity economy is embedded.
Methodology – By analysing the thought of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a key thinker and activist in the 19th libertarian socialist movement, we identify the principles guiding the solidarity economy. We illustrate our argument by drawing on qualitative research conducted on solidarity economy organisations in France.
Findings – The solidarity economy illustrates an alternative to both capitalism and state socialism: libertarian socialism. This chapter demonstrates that this left libertarianism is not a new utopia. It is rooted in the long (but marginal) history of libertarian socialism, which was born in the 19th century.
Originality – An economy managed from the left based on libertarian political principles seems to be a novel experiment. We seek to illustrate what this may look like using the example of the present solidarity economy. However, we also emphasise that this would imply a reversal of the political programme of the ‘Big Society’. It would imply the redistribution of economic and political power not only from the state to local communities, but also from company directors and their shareholders in order to realise not a charitable but an economically empowered civil society.
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 purpose of this paper is to examine the multiplicity of views on integrated reporting and to consider the possibility of, and impediments to, reconciling these…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the multiplicity of views on integrated reporting and to consider the possibility of, and impediments to, reconciling these multiple rationales (“orders of worth”) and thus gain legitimacy through a compromise. This sheds light on the understanding of integrated reporting as such, as well as shows how legitimacy struggles are resolved in practice around complex accounting practices in heterogeneous environments.
This explorative paper empirically applies Boltanski and Thévenot's sociology of worth (SOW) framework to analyse integrated reporting in the Dutch reporting field. Data were collected using multiple methods, including 64 semi-structured in-depth interviews with a wide range of relevant actors, and documentary analysis. Data were coded for the presence of orders of worth and legitimating compromise mechanisms.
The author's analysis suggests that integrated reporting combines the disparate domains of industrial, market, civic and green order of worth. These different logics of valuation need to be reconciled in a compromise in order for integrated reporting to become a legitimate practice. Such a compromise requires a common interest, avoidance of clarification and maintenance of ambiguity. The author's analysis suggests these mechanisms are violated though, with the risk that integrated reporting gets captured by investors and accountants, leading to local private arrangements rather than durable legitimate compromise.
First, SOW informs the understanding of integrated reporting. It highlights in particular its fragility as fundamentally different rationales need to be reconciled, which is a challenge yet also gives rise to creative frictions. Second, the SOW framework creates the possibility for scholars to look closer at the dynamics of legitimacy and at the possible mechanisms to attain legitimacy in fragmented and heterogeneous environment.
The SOW framework offers tools for practitioners, in particular those working within a pluralistic context. The various mechanisms of compromise discussed in this paper provide practical guidelines for how to manage this complexity and gain or maintain legitimacy.
This rich empirical study combines a novel theoretical approach (the SOW framework) with an analysis of the relatively unexplored topic of integrated reporting. At the same time it introduces a conceptualisation of legitimacy that highlights communicative and constitutive dialogue and goes beyond fit and compliance.