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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Juliane Reinecke, Koen van Bommel and Andre Spicer

How is moral legitimacy established in pluralist contexts where multiple moral frameworks co-exist and compete? Situations of moral multiplexity complicate not only…

Abstract

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.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Book part
Publication date: 17 February 2017

Julia Brandl and Anna Schneider

How headquarter (HQ) and subsidiary actors end conflicts and reach agreements is an important but still under-researched question in multinational corporations (MNC…

Abstract

How headquarter (HQ) and subsidiary actors end conflicts and reach agreements is an important but still under-researched question in multinational corporations (MNC) literature. This conceptual article approaches these conflict dynamics from the Convention Theory perspective. Convention Theory draws attention to justice principles (known as “order of worth”) and to the material aspects in relations between MNC actors. We offer a framework that contributes to HQ-subsidiary relations research in three ways: (1) it links conflicts to justice principles, (2) it enriches the understanding of the stability of agreements, and (3) it sheds light on the activities needed for realizing preferred arrangements.

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Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-386-3

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2014

Koen van Bommel

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…

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2020

Kai Michael Krauss, Anna Sandäng and Eric Karlsson

By mobilizing the empirical setting of a megaproject, this study problematizes public budgeting as participatory practice. The authors suggest that megaprojects are prone…

Abstract

Purpose

By mobilizing the empirical setting of a megaproject, this study problematizes public budgeting as participatory practice. The authors suggest that megaprojects are prone to democratic legitimacy challenges due to a long history of cost overruns, which provides stakeholders with a chance to dramatize a budgetary controversy.

Design/methodology/approach

Through article and document data, the authors reconstructed a controversy that emerged around the budget of Stockholm/Åre’s candidature for the Olympic Winter Games 2026. The authors used Boltanski and Thévenot's (2006) orders of worth to systematically analyze the justification work of key stakeholder groups involved in the controversy.

Findings

This study illustrates that a budgetary controversy was actively maintained by stakeholder groups, which resulted in a lack of public support and the eventual demise of the Olympic candidature. As such, the authors provide a more nuanced understanding of public budgeting as a controversy-based process vis-à-vis a wider public with regard to the broken institution of megaprojects.

Practical implications

This study suggests more attention to the disruptive power of public scrutiny and the dramatization of budgeting in megaprojects. In this empirical case, the authors show how stakeholders tend to take their technical concerns too far in order to challenge a budget, even though megaprojects generally provide an ill-suited setting for accurate forecasts.

Originality/value

While studies around the financial legacies of megaprojects have somewhat matured, very few have looked at pitching them. However, the authors argue that megaprojects are increasingly faced with financial skepticism upon their approval upfront.

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Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2011

Marcia Annisette and Alan J. Richardson

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and illustrate the insights of the sociology of worth as advanced by sociologist Luc Boltanski and his collaborator…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and illustrate the insights of the sociology of worth as advanced by sociologist Luc Boltanski and his collaborator economist/statistician Laurent Thévenot in their works, including their path‐breaking book De la justification published in 1991.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores the basic tenets of this “new sociology” and draws on it to render a reinterpretation of Ansari and Euske's study of cost accounting in a military depot.

Findings

The sociology of worth complements extant sociological approaches to accounting by providing a language and a conceptual tool‐box for understanding the multiple rationalities in which accounting is implicated. In addition, given its pragmatic micro level approach to accounting, it has the potential to act as a bridge between institutional theory and practice theory.

Originality/value

This paper is the first known to render an extensive discussion of Boltanski and Thévenot's work in the accounting literature and to apply insights from this work to accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Chantale Mailhot and Ann Langley

This article draws on the literature on valuation and evaluation and the orders of worth framework to consider the process of knowledge commercialization from academia to…

Abstract

This article draws on the literature on valuation and evaluation and the orders of worth framework to consider the process of knowledge commercialization from academia to practice. Based on the study of two knowledge commercialization projects in a business school, the study contributes by showing how the orders of worth framework may assist in understanding the assignment of worth to knowledge-based objects in the context of multiple and potentially competing systems of valuation. The study also adds to the literature on the orders of worth framework by showing how “composite objects” or “assemblages” that achieve compromise or synergy (i.e., mutual reinforcement) between different value systems may be constructed and potentially sustained.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2021

Agathe Morinière and Irène Georgescu

This study aims to understand whether and how the use of performance measures in the context of healthcare organizations facilitates the dynamics of compromise or whether…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to understand whether and how the use of performance measures in the context of healthcare organizations facilitates the dynamics of compromise or whether it creates moral struggles among a wide variety of actors. It offers novel insights into the concept of hybridity by investigating its underlying moral dimension. Drawing upon the sociology of worth theory (Boltanski and Thévenot, 1991, 2006), this paper examines how actors negotiate and compromise over time concerning issues of justice, involving the use of performance measures on a day-to-day basis.

Design/methodology/approach

The article presents a single case study of a medical unit in a French public hospital. Data were obtained through the ethnographic method, semi-structured interviews and internal financial and accounting documents.

Findings

Unlike earlier accounting studies, the authors analyze whether, and how, accounting, on one hand, contributes to the dynamics of compromise between actors with divergent values that characterize hybrid organizations, and, on the other hand, increases tensions among actors with convergent values involved in caregiving. This offers practical insights into three relational mechanisms underlying the dynamics of compromise and their limits through the time dimension.

Research limitations/implications

The authors use a single case study in a country-specific context.

Practical implications

This study helps managers of healthcare organizations to understand the relationships between the use of performance measures and their impact on the evaluation of worth in practice.

Originality/value

In terms of theoretical contribution, the authors show how the sociology of worth (Boltanski and Thévenot, 1991, 2006) complements the analysis of hybridity and develop an original approach to understanding the ambivalent role of performance measures in bringing together divergent values within French public hospitals.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Marcia Annisette, Gillian Vesty and Thierry Amslem

This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case…

Abstract

This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case illustrations, a not-for-profit welfare agency and a government-owned water utility, we follow the unfolding of disputes and the variety of outcomes in which accounting is implicated. We illustrate the role of accounting in justificatory actions and the ways in which it “holds things together” in compromise arrangements. We also illustrate the situations which challenge the “test” of worth and the innovative accounting responses that either facilitate coordination and agreement or become controversial and be the object of organizational and institutional dispute.

Details

Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Peter Skilling and Helen Tregidga

The purpose of this paper is to analyse justifications for, and accounting’s role in, arguments for and against the living wage.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse justifications for, and accounting’s role in, arguments for and against the living wage.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic content analysis of arguments made for and against the living wage in a range of secondary data sources is conducted. Boltanski and Thévenot’s typology oforders of worth” provides the framework for analysis.

Findings

Arguments for a living wage are found to draw on a range of orders of worth. These arguments hold that while market signals have a valid role in informing wage decisions, such decisions should also take into account the civic order’s emphasis on collective outcomes, the industrial order’s emphasis on long-term organisational performance, and an emphasis on the inherent dignity of the human worker drawn from the domestic and inspired orders. Business arguments against a living wage hold that the current weight given to the tests and objectives of the market order is optimal and that a living wage would undermine firm competitiveness and, ultimately, collective well-being. Justifications of existing low-wage practices are shown to be reflected in, and naturalised by, accounting discourses and practices.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the emergent literature on the relationship between accounting and inequality. It elucidates accounting’s role in supporting the market order of worth and thus the stabilisation and perpetuation of income inequalities. Its analysis of the orders of worth invoked by those calling for a living wage contribute to the task of imagining and constructing an alternative, more equitable, accounting discourse and practice.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2018

Ronika Chakrabarti and Katy Mason

This chapter draws on the concept of orders of worth to generate understanding into how sustainable, good markets might be enabled at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP)…

Abstract

This chapter draws on the concept of orders of worth to generate understanding into how sustainable, good markets might be enabled at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP). Through an ethnographic study of the efforts of a non-government organisation (NGO) to create spaces where values and value at the BoP are unearthed, articulated, contested and translated into market-making practices. Insights are generated into how interventions to make-markets in sites of extreme poverty become ‘worth the effort’. In keeping with the market studies literature, the authors explore how multiple, contested and reframed needs generate insights into the efforts (and practices) that shape orders of worth in economic life. Orders of worth are the everyday practice of social values that constitute economic value and are framed through the moral values of social worlds as these values are put to work to calculate economic value. This work provides a contribution to the market studies literature through our understanding of the relationship between social and economic values in the creation of orders of worth, by showing how this happens at the BoP. Second, the authors contribute to the BoP literature by showing how places and spaces can be created and used to enable markets to unfold and happen. Finally, the findings contribute to our understanding of the types of practices and market-making devices that interventions might adopt and adapt in order to prod potential actors into action. The chapter identifies three types of enabling practices that make markets possible: connecting, integrating and reclassifying.

Details

Bottom of the Pyramid Marketing: Making, Shaping and Developing BoP Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-556-6

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