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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.
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.
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.