Sub-theme 43: Value, Values and Valuation

Juliane Reinecke
Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK
Klaus Weber
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA
Hugh Willmott
Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK

Call for Papers


Technologies and processes of valuation are omnipresent in organizations, markets and societies. Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the concepts of values and valuation (e.g. Karpik, 2010; Beckert & Aspers, 2011) and the theoretical foundations of the concept of value have been revisited (Podolny & Hill-Popper, 2004). This sub-theme will bring together a diverse group of scholars that study value, values and valuation. This goal is to create spaces for debate on the meaning and significance of value(s) and valuation for organizations, markets and societies, and to build an academic community around common questions.

Despite diverse intellectual starting points, this recent research is converging around some commonalties. One widely shared premise is that all action articulates the values of participants and audiences, making valuation a fundamental process of social and economic organization. Other common themes include the plurality of regimes for establishing worth or legitimacy (Boltanski & Thévenot, 2006 [1991]; Thornton & Ocasio, 2008), and an interest in the design and consequences of valuation systems. Accordingly, researchers have studied social practices, technologies and conventions of valuation in organizations and markets (Callon & Muniesa, 2005; Dornbusch & Scott, 1975; Espeland & Stevens, 1998, Zbaracki & Bergen, 2010).

We invite theoretical contributions as well as empirical studies, and encourage diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. We expect applications to extend across a wide range of analysis, including, for example: the marketization of public goods, personnel evaluation systems, financial and accounting practices, third party rankings, consumption and social media, valuing intangibles such as brands and designs, and sustainability accounting and reporting. Some central questions are:

  • Regimes of value: How are organizations and markets shaped by general valuation technologies and conventions? How do different regimes of value interact in organizations, markets and society? How are (cultural, social, ethical) values translated into economic value? What social, historical, and cultural forces shape current conventions around the valuation of different goods and actors? How do changing social and material technologies affect valuation regimes?
  • Practices of valuation: How is value organized through the creation of categories, accounting schemes, procedures, standards, rankings and other valuation devices? What counts as value and for whom? How are these practices created, diffused or dismissed? What role do external audiences vs. participants play in establishing value?
  • Valuing design: How does design create value and for whom? What values influence the designers of material and cultural objects? What is the basis of evaluating designs (e.g., based on market, aesthetic, civic or industrial orders of worth), and who are the evaluators?
  • Politics of values: How do power relations influence the process of value construction? Through what processes do actors agree on what counts as value? How are values and valuation practices used as devices for domination and control? When and how are particular valuation systems and standards authorized?
  • Theories of value: What is the respective standing of expressive, utilitarian, exchange or engagement bases of value? Are there other foundations of value and value creation (e.g. affect, ethos, ethics, morality), and what is their implication for organizations and markets? What social, political and cultural formations support different lay ideas of values? Are there cultural differences in the concept of value?



Beckert, J. & P. Aspers (2011): The Worth of Goods: Valuation and Pricing in the Economy. New York: Oxford University Press
Boltanski, L. & L. Thévenot. 2006 [1991]: On Justification. Translated by C. Porter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Callon, M. & F. Muniesa (2005): "Economic markets as calculative collective devices." Organization Studies, 26, 1229
Dornbusch, S.M. & W.R. Scott (1975): Evaluation and the Exercise of Authority. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Espeland, W.N. & M.L. Stevens (1998): "Commensuration as a social process." Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 313–343
Karpik, L. (2010): Valuing the Unique: The Economics of Singularities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Podolny, J.M. & M. Hill-Popper (2004): "Hedonic and transcendent conceptions of value." Industrial and Corporate Change, 13, 91–116
Thornton, P.H. & W. Ocasio (2008): "Institutional logics." In: R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, K. Sahlin & R. Suddaby (eds.): The Sage Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 99–12
Zbaracki, M.J. & M. Bergen (2010): "When truces collapse: A longitudinal study of price adjustment routines." Organization Science, 21, 955–972


Juliane Reinecke Juliane Reinecke is Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Warwick Business School. She is interested in how organizational and political processes of value construction shape notions of fairness, sustainability and responsibility in markets. In particular she studies the role of Fairtrade and other sustainability standards in making markets value ethical and environmental performance.
Klaus Weber Klaus is Associate Professor of Management & Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. His research uses cultural and institutional analysis to understand globalization, the environmental movement and sustainability. He has published in Administrative Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Harvard Business Review. He is an associate editor at Organization Science.
Hugh Willmott Hugh is Research Professor in Organizational Studies at Cardiff Business School. He is interested in the relevance of critical social theory for illuminating management and organization. He is the co-founder of the International Labor Process Conference and the Critical Management Studies Conference. He currently serves on the board of Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies and is an Associate Editor of Organization. Full details can be found on his homepage :