21st October 2013

Valuation devices and processes of organizing

Call for Paper 5th LAEMOS Colloquium Latin American and European Meeting on Organization Studies. Havana, Cuba, 2-5 April 2014.

Sub Theme 12. Valuation devices and processes of organizing –

Sub theme Conveners: José Ossandón (Copenhagen Business School & Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile). Martin Kornberger (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark) Christian Frankel (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark), Tomás Ariztía (Universidad Diego Portales, Chile)


Economic sociologists, anthropologists of markets, organization theorists, accounting scholars and others have brought the notion of value (back) on the agenda. In this context value is not understood as a noun but as a specific social material practice: rather than trying to define value as essence, the focus is on valuation practices and technologies of valuing. Here it becomes central to follow the trials (experiments, sales, revenue lists) and devices (rankings, ratings, surveys) that make things – firms, consumers, goods – comparable, accountable, rankable, in short: valuable.

In formalized and standardized modes of valuation (business school accreditations; ratings of bonds etc.) valuation appears to take the form of relatively centralized power. Yet there is an increasingly distributed and heterogeneous ecology of agents producing their own valuations. To the institutions traditionally in charge of valuing (firms, states and regulation agencies, professionals and academic associations), there is an emerging set of agents including user centred review pages (like TripAdvisor), amateur blogs, or new producers of rankings, lists and other numerical modes of accounts (think for instance about GoogleScholar). In other words: valuing is not a process monopolized by technical experts (accountants, finance analysts, taxcofficers) but it also contested by “lay” users, consumers or affected groups- or disrupted by newcomers – for instance internet searchers producing new rankings- and is becoming openly political.

Valuation devices are not only sub-political – in the sense of silently performing what they appear to measure, but they also become openly political. For instance, debates about ‘the social value of firms’, ‘the social fairness of commodity chains’ or the ‘environmental damage’ of particular products are played out at the level of valuation devices.

In this stream we invite scholars to reflect on valuation devices and practices in general and speculate on their role in processes of organizing in particular. Hence the aim of the session is twofold: Push theorizing of valuation devices and reflect in implications for organization theory. Responding to the conference aim – to provide space for “research on the dynamics of development, resistance, and innovation with the aim to promote alternative forms of organization in Latin American and European societies” – we welcome papers reflecting on some of the following issues:

– Case studies about particular valuation devices and their performativity in organizational practices

– Organizing through valuation devices (e.g. Espeland / Sauder on rankings and the field of law schools)

– Strategizing through valuation devices (e.g. gaming behavior, collective action, or distributed cognition). Such strategizing may be about taking part in established valuation, about producing alternative forms of evaluation or possibly about escaping valuation.

– Controversies where social movements (consumer groups, environmentalists, affected groups) contest or produce alternatives modes of valuing organizations or economic goods

– Reflections about the potentially democratic and/or anti-democratic consequences of the new valuation ecology in decision making processes

The stream would like to provide space for conceptual and empirical papers, mobilizing different theoretical resources and / or practical cases.

Contact sub theme:mko.ioa@cbs.dk

Abstract submission (1000 words), 15 November, 2013.

Notification of acceptance, 15 December, 2013

Submission of full paper (6000 words), 5 March, 2014

Website of the conference: http://laemos.com/

To submit your abstract click here.