Martin Kornberger (2017)
Organization Studies. 38(12), pp. 1753-1773
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.