Archives mensuelles : août 2017

The dynamics of sheep welfare in Norway – between idealised images and practical realities

Virginie Amilien & Unni Kjaernes (2017)

British Food Journal, 119(4), p. 952-966

Purpose: This paper is based on three social scientific studies of animal welfare and local food products in Norway, of which two focused on sheep in particular. It addresses the widespread belief that Norwegian sheep farming is “the best” but is confronted with a meat industry that emphasises economic efficiency. A few years after a new Norwegian law on animal welfare acknowledged animals as sentient beings came into force in 2010 (LOVdata, 2009), the purpose of this paper is to better understand ongoing debates on the welfare of sheep by exploring how sheep welfare is understood and regulated in Norway.

Design/methodology/approach: The theoretical framework draws on convention theory, especially referring to the four “possible worlds of production” (Salais/Storper 1993). The authors argue that animal welfare may be analysed in parallel to product quality, focusing on three major perspectives of sheep welfare: animal treatment, product quality, and an abstract conceptualisation in public discourse. The empirical analysis is based on interviews with key players in the sector and central documents.

Findings: Convention theory points to several general difficulties in reaching an agreement on what is “good quality” and welfare. First, the authors find difficulty in how to implement new regulatory conceptualisations with dominant ways of understanding welfare within the industry. Second, the idealised images of sheep welfare of an immaterial possible world dominating public discourse have very little interaction with the real world of farms and abattoirs.

Originality/value: This paper suggests that rather than addressing and handling the potential tension between the legal recognition of animal as sentient being and the economic demands of the industry, key actors keep the potentially conflicting understandings apart in different “worlds of production” (Salais/Storper 1993). Nevertheless, the authors observe that interactions between possible worlds, as well as translation from one possible world to another, not only could be promising but would be fundamental to concretise improvements in the real world.

Link to the review


Algorithmes de prix, intelligence artificielle et équilibres collusifs

Frédéric Marty (2017)

Sciences Po OFCE. Working Paper, n°14, 2017-05-01.

Résumé. Les algorithmes de prix mis en oeuvre par des firmes concurrentes peuvent constituer le support de collusions. Les ressources offertes par le Big Data, les possibilités d’ajustement des prix en temps réel et l’analyse prédictive peuvent permettre d’atteindre rapidement et de maintenir durablement des équilibres de collusion tacite. Le recours à l’intelligence artificielle pose un enjeu spécifique en ce sens que l’algorithme peut découvrir de lui-même l’intérêt d’un accord tacite de non-agression et que l’analyse de son processus décisionnel est particulièrement difficile. Ce faisant la sanction de l’entente sur la base du droit des pratiques anticoncurrentielles ne va pas de soi. L’article explore donc les voies de régulation possibles, que celles-ci passent par des audits ou par l’activation de règles de responsabilité.

Abstract. Algorithmic pricing may help competitors to collude. Big Data, real time pricing and predictive analysis may favour a quick reach to tacit collusion agreement and a durable equilibrium. Artificial Intelligence induces a specific issue as the algorithm may autonomously discover the possible gains associated to this kind of non-aggression equilibrium and as it is difficult to make its decisional process accountable. Hence sanctioning this on the ground of anticompetitive practices prohibition is not obvious. This paper explores the alternative ways of regulation as experimentations or implementation of liability rules.

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Routine and reflexivity: Simonian cognitivism vs practice approach

Rouslan Koumakhov & Adel Daoud (2017)

Industrial and Corporate Change, 26(4), p. 727–743

Abstract. The proponents of practice approaches to organizational routines claim that Herbert Simon’s conceptualization of routines overlooks issues of mindfulness, agency, and interpretation. We show that this criticism of Simon’s account of rule-based behavior in organizations is unsound. More importantly, Simon’s account overcomes some serious limitations of practice approaches with regard to understanding reflexivity, subjectivity, and improvisation. We reconstruct Simon’s view of organizational rules and cognition as part of his decision-making theory. In this view, rules are not rigid repetitive patterns of action, but mental structures allowing for various degrees of subjective interpretation, behavioral flexibility, and strategic action. We emphasize the central place that Simon assigns to the concept of a shared cognitive model governing representations of reality, and the importance of this concept in understanding the issue of rule-based behavior. Simon’s analysis is contemporary and powerful, insofar as it offers a valuable and comprehensive alternative to current understandings of routine and cognition in organizations.

Link to the review

Social and solidarity finance: A conceptual approach

Amélie Artis (2017)

Research in International Business and Finance 39, pp. 737–749.

Abstract. An analysis of the social- and solidarity-finance system of relationships, which has characteristics that differ from those of other financial intermediaries, underpins the conceptual approach of this article. Social and solidarity finance constitutes a set of interdependent financial and social relationships, and partnerships between individuals and organisations,that mesh into an organised whole.This article makes use of  institutional economics to understand those mechanisms of interaction between individuals, organisations and institutions that are not strictly economic. First, we offer a new conceptual framework on social and solidarity finance from an institutional point of view. Then, based on this framework, we outline the sustainability of alternative finance and its ability to respond to specific entrepreneurship needs. Finally, we present the French situation regarding social and solidarity finance to highlight the main characteristics of alternative finance.

Link to the review

The Recursive Nature of Institutional Change. An Annales School Perspective

Marco Clemente, Rodolphe Durand & Thomas Roulet (2017)

Journal of Management Inquiry. Online first.

Abstract. In this essay, we propose a recursive model of institutional change building on the Annales School, one of the 20th century’s most influential streams of historical research. Our model builds upon three concepts from the Annales—mentalities, levels of time, and critical events—to explore how critical events affect different dimensions of institutional logics and exert short- or long-range influences. On these bases, organizations make choices, from decoupling to radical shifts in logics, leading to severe institutional changes that become the matter of history. As much as organizations are influenced by events and the prevalent institutional logics, their choices trigger macro-level changes in a recursive manner. More broadly, we comment on how fruitful is our approach to historicize organization studies.

Link to the review


Values, conventions, innovation and sociopolitical struggles in a local food system: Conflict between organic and conventional farmers in Sierra de Segura

Daniel Coq-Huelva, Javier Sanz-Cañada & Florencio Sánchez-Escobar (2017)

Journal of Rural Studies, 55, pp. 112–121

• Local Food Systems are not always homogeneous places in which agents have similar interests and values.
• Conflict is an essential feature of processes of social construction of quality inside Local Food Systems.
• Convention Theory offers a set of key concepts for approaching agents’ coordination and conflict inside Local Food Systems.
• Compromises are essential for understanding social construction and competition between organic and local olive oil farmers.
• Compromises are supported by strong discursive mobilisation, being clashes one of their major distinctive elements.

Link to the review

Unrooting inequality from development. Recognition and justification of inequality in global development

Alex Cisneros (2017)

MA thesis, University of Jyväskylä, Finnland

Abstract. How does the tension resolve between a moral order with egalitarian imperatives, such as sustainable and inclusive human development, and a global political economy based on a market system that prioritizes meeting the wants and needs of those with purchasing power? By developing a comprehensive theoretical framework as analytical contribution, I propose to rethink a practice-intensive field and analyze the texts that represent the dominant discourse in development policies: the UNDP Human Development Reports and the World Bank’s World Development Reports. These influential institutions have shaped the rise of neoliberalism as a hegemonic development paradigm, and their discourses about development have shaped socioeconomic logics of what ‘worth’ means, turning market-led growth – without equity – to be recognized and justified as generic development policy. Global inequality, enacted through normalized intersubjective relational disorders, has become a ‘natural’ situation in which there is apparent agreement to tackle inconsistencies under a seemingly tolerable promise of proper management in a future of sustained status quo. My thesis analyzes the way these disruptive situations, despite the crises of legitimation and questioning, appear to hold together. My research dwells in overlapping fields, between the German social philosophy in Axel Honneth’s Theory of Recognition, and the French economic sociology in Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s methodology of Justification and Economies of Worth. Understanding this process will need a complex methodological scope, which: 1) maps patterns of exclusion, using a recognition-theoretical view of inequality as a displacement of exclusionary practices, and shifts of relational disorders in society; 2) applies conceptual tools to describe subject-formation and performativity under these disorders, including their political dimension; 3) grounds these theoretical findings in the context of development studies, unveiling unconscious attachments that subjects have to actively prefer and accept these relations; and 4) applies a holistic and highly pragmatic methodology of Justification and Economies of Worth to analyze and identify how this process is justified to an extent to which inequality is tolerated. I use this intersecting methodology to analyze the Human Development Reports by the United Nations Development Programme, and how they resolve the paradoxical tension in favor of neoliberal capitalism by being subjectively different, but objectively aligned and complicit.

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Human Rights and Capabilities: A Program for a Critical Sociology of Law

Jean De Munck (2017)

Critical Sociology, Online first.

Abstract. This article sets out the fecundity of the Capability Approach for a sociology of human rights. The author endeavors to show that four difficulties can be successfully overcome. (1) The first is epistemological in nature. Human rights are often presented as legal norms. By relying on the Putman/Habermas debate, the author maintains that Sen’s epistemology is Putnamian, allowing us to treat human rights a system of values (rather than as a system of norms), thereby enabling the construction of a system of evaluation (the “goal rights system”) that is neither consequentialist nor deontological. This system is open to public deliberation and can thus take into account the systems of evaluation of participants (in addition to that of the observer). This epistemological basis serves to remove the other obstacles. (2) By defining the individual in terms of “capabilities”, Sen avoids a methodological individualism that would produce an under-socialized version of the individual. (3) He includes social, economic, and cultural rights in the list of human rights, whereas liberal philosophies tend to exclude these. (4) He allows for the thematization of the specific conversion factors that condition the transformation of formal rights into real freedoms (internormative culture, civilian legal intermediaries, access to resources and the capabilities to use them). Avoiding formalism, the capability approach is a valuable instrument for a critical sociology of human rights.

Link to the review.

Moving Institutional Logics Forward: Emotion and Meaningful Material Practice

Roger Friedland (2017)

Organization Studies. Online first.

Abstract. Institutional theory, and the institutional logics approach in particular, lacks the feelings that produce, sustain and disrupt institutional practice. This is due in part to rational, instrumental understandings of the individual in practice, and in part to the cognitive and linguistic understanding of that practice, sustained by classification, qualification and belief. Emotion, a joining of language and bodily affect, is ready at hand for institutional theory. There is increasing recognition that emotion is a powerful device for institutionalization and de-institutionalization. In this essay, I consider emotion’s position in institutional theory and how we might position it in an institutional logics approach. I will argue that emotion not only mediates institutions, but can itself be institutional.

Link to the review

Pre-print version via ResearchGate

The Values of Strategy: Valuation Practices, Rivalry and Strategic Agency

Martin Kornberger (2017)

Organization Studies. Online first.

Abstract. The concept of value is held dear by strategy theorists and practitioners alike as they share a concern about value creation, value propositions, value add, value chains, shareholder value and a plethora of other value constructs. Yet, despite its centrality, the concept of value has attracted limited attention in strategy scholarship. Most commonly, notions of value as profit or utility, inherited from economic theory, are assumed rather than analyzed. This paper advances the discussion of value in the strategy discourse by conceptualizing value as a correlate of valuation practices. Following this view, value is neither understood as the property of an object nor as a subjective preference; rather, values are constituted through valuation practices including rankings, ratings, awards, reviews and other valuation mechanisms that bestow values upon things in the first place. The paper explores this idea through analyzing valuation practices and their constitutive mechanisms; and it exploits this idea for the conceptualization of rivalry and strategic agency. The learnings are two-fold: because goods are ordered, hierarchized and “appreciated” by consumers, critics, competitors and others through mediating valuation practices, it follows that (1) rivalry takes place at the level of valuation practices as they constitute the spaces in which accounts of worth are constructed and contested; and that (2) strategic agency may be understood in relation to an actor’s capacity to cope with and influence these valuation practices.

Link to the review

Version via ResearchGate

Call for papers for Organization Studies

Calls for Papers for forthcoming Special Issues of Organization Studies.

To view further details, including article guidelines and instructions on how to submit, please click on the titles.

The Hidden Life of Categories: Emergence, Maintenance and Change in Organizations, Markets and Society
Deadline for submissions: 30th September 2017

Food Organizing Matters: Paradoxes, Problems and Potentialities
Date for submissions: between 15 and 31 October 2017

Organizational control and surveillance of new work practices
Deadline for submissions: 29th June 2018

Shaping food systems towards improved nutrition: a case study on Tuscan Bread Protected Designation of Origin

Francesca Galli, Francesca Venturi, Fabio Bartolini, Oriana Gava, Angela Zinnai, Sanmartin Chiara, Gianpaolo Andrich & Gianluca Brunori (2017)

International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 20(4), p. 533-552

Abstract. The concern for the quality of food, its composition and contribution towards nutrition and health is widespread among public and private food system actors. The increasing interest in locally integrated supply chains leads to reconsider the configuration of the food system in relation to sustainability and health outcomes. This article focuses on the relationship between processing practices and nutritional value in the wheat-tobread sector, illustrated by a case study on the Tuscan Bread Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). By adopting a food system perspective, the case study shows how the different actors have mobilized to respond to multiple drivers of change. A mixed research method approach is adopted to illustrate the relationship between processing practices and nutritional value outcomes: practice-based indicators for each step of the chain are complemented with performance-based indicators of the chemical, physical and sensorial profile of Tuscan Bread PDO. Furthermore, the implications on food system governance of a differentiation strategy based on territorial origin and enhanced nutrition are discussed.

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« Marketing quality » in the food sector. Towards a critical engagement with the « quality turn » in wine

Eva Parga-Dans & Pablo Alonso Gonzales (2017)

In: Geoforum 85. Online first.

Abstract. Our review explores the role of quality conventions that have emerged since the ‘quality turn’ in the food sector. By examining how the ‘quality turn’ contributes to transforming the wine sector, it asks whether the labeling systems seek to certify the quality of productive practices (informative function) or are intended to create imaginaries of quality as a differentiated business market strategy (symbolic function). After discussing relevant literature in geography and related fields, this review uses two emblematic examples from the wine sector to argue for the need to move beyond the marketing of quality to deepen the analysis and understanding of quality. This analytic insight questions the viability and usefulness of quality conventions aimed at differentiation, territorial development, with a focus on markets with high added value, and argues for the need to open new lines of research and policy in this sphere.

Link to the review

Changes in protected designations of origin in the Spanish wine sector: Movements between worlds of production

Samuel Esteban Rodríguez (2017)

Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles 74, pp. 483-513.

Abstract. This study is a comparative analysis of the Spanish Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wine-producing regions between the production years of 2001–2002 and 2012–2013. The worlds of production theory was used as a framework for the classification of the different PDO regions based on their production characteristics and their target market. Use was made of a series of quantitative indicators related to technology and market type. Once the classification was made, it was verified whether this adjusted to the concepts of the theoretical model, and a subsequent analysis was performed on the results of each production year and the evolution taking place in the industry. Between 2001–2002 and 2013–2013 an increase was reported in product specialization and customization in a large number of PDO regions, which have shifted to become a part of the interpersonal world of production. In spite of this, among the PDO regions that had retained their model within the industrial world of production, adjustments were observed directed at improving their position by means of competitive pricing. The market world and the innovation world are less extended, despite legislative changes encouraging diversity within the industry.

Article in Spanish

Article in English (without reference list)


Meetings between frames: Negotiating worth between journalism and management

Elena Raviola (2017)

In: Journal of Management. In press/online first.

This paper explores meetings between different frames, thus producing different overflows in an organizational context. Relying on Boltanski and Thévenot’s (2006) sociology of critique (also called the sociology of conventions) to analyze the relationship between different frames, this paper specifically investigates the encounter between journalism and management in practice in a digital news venture. It is based on an ethnographic study of Rue89, a French news organization, which was started in 2007 by former newspaper journalists and publishes an advertising-based generalist news website open for readers’ participation in the production of news. The study shows how negotiations between different frames organizing work at Rue89 take place in different ways in different situations and lead to different results, in terms of what is worth doing and what is not, thus overflowing.

Link to the review