Sub-theme 17: Values, Entrepreneurship and Organizing

Christian Garmann Johnsen
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Saara L. Taalas
Linnaeus University, Sweden
Lena Olaison
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, & Linnaeus University, Sweden

Call for Papers

Organizations are sites for value struggles. Conventionally, organizations have been evaluated on the basis of their creation of economic value and entrepreneurship is traditionally understood as the organization of such ‘value creation’ (Fayolle, 2007). Recently, social and ecological values have come to be seen as central to organizations. Such inclusion raises a series of questions. Böhm, Misoczky and Moog (2012) argue that different set of values are incompatible – pointing to the ‘metabolic rift’ between green values and economic values – while Porter and Kramer (2006) believe that some organizations are able to reconcile different set of values by creating ‘shared values’. Sustainable entrepreneurship has been offered as a way to overcome the conflict between green values and economic values. Unsurprisingly, this view remains highly contested (Phillips, 2013).
Values, according to Nietzsche, are principles for passing judgements. When we say that ‘This is wrong!’ we make an assessment based upon the value of rightness, while the statement ‘This is beautiful!’ takes point of departure in the value of beauty. As Nietzsche knew, values are neither naturally given to man by nature nor inscribed into the ontological structure of our existence. Instead, values are historically situated, socially embedded and always organized in a certain manner. Although we tend to think that the value of goodness is ethical virtuous, we should not take such assumptions for granted. Quite the opposite, we should indeed be aware that behind every value lies different interests and social struggles. In the words of Deleuze, Nietzsche therefore teaches us how to question the ‘value of values’ (Deleuze, 1983, p. 1). Such a critical assessment should open up for us ‘to create new values’ (Deleuze, 1983, p. 85, original italics) by allowing us to explore ‘the possibilities of life that are not yet known’ (Weiskopf & Steyaert, 2009, p. 200; see also Holt & Hjorth, 2014).
In this sub-theme, we want to spark a debate about values, precisely because values are important, but yet often taken for granted without sufficiently being interrogated. We want to reflect on the ontological status of values (‘What are values?), but also consider how values serve as the cause of organizing (‘How do values shape our lives?’) and effect of organizing (‘How are values created?’). The conference theme of the ‘Good Organization’ seems therefore already to be in a critical struggle: Against which values should the good organization be evaluated? We believe that the current multiple crises of economy, ecology and the political bring the question of what values are into a new and critical stage. We therefore invite a conversation between humanities, entrepreneurship studies and organization studies about the nature of values. We thus invite papers that address all aspects of the challenges, crises and struggles inherent in values and its conceptualization.
A non-exclusive list of potential themes include:

  • Values in leadership (Sliwa et al., 2013; Johnsen, 2015)
  • Organizing values and new forms of value-creation (Prichard & Mir, 2010)
  • Values and the politics of consumption (Bradshaw et al., 2013)
  • Values beyond economics: sharing, circulation, re-use, gifts, barter and trust (Parker et al., 2014)
  • Humanities and aesthetic values (Sørensen, 2014; Steyaert et al., 2016)
  • Values of the street: active audiences, gamers and consumer cultures (Taalas & Hirsjärvi, 2013)
  • Valuing excellence and failure in organization and entrepreneurship (Butler & Spoelstra, 2012; Olaison & Sørensen, 2014)
  • Values in crime and legalistic assumptions in organizing (Rehn & Taalas, 2004)
  • Queer(ing) values in organization (Parker, 2002)
  • Sustainability, social values and entrepreneurship (Daskalaki et al., 2015)



  • Bradshaw, A., Campbell, N., & Dunne, S. (2013): “The Politics of Consumption.” ephemera, 13 (2), 203–216.
  • Butler, N., & Spoelstra, S. (2012): “Your Excellency.” Organization, 19 (6), 891–903.
  • Böhm, S., Misoczky, M.C., & Moog, S. (2012): “Greening Capitalism? A Marxist Critique of Carbon Markets.” Organization Studies, 33 (11), 1617–1638.
  • Daskalaki, M., Hjorth, D., & Mair, J. (2015): “Are Entrepreneurship, Communities, and Social Transformation Related?” Journal of Management Inquiry, 24 (4), 419–423.
  • Deleuze, G. (1983): Nietzsche & Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Fayolle, A. (2007): Entrepreneurship and New Value Creation: The Dynamic of the Entrepreneurial Process. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Holt, R., & Hjorth, D. (2014): “Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900).” In: J. Helin, T. Hernes, D. Hjorth & R. Holt (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Process Philosophy and Organization Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 202–217.
  • Johnsen, C.G. (2015): “Authenticating the Leader: Why Bill George Believes that a Moral Compass Would Have Kept Jeffrey Skilling out of Jail.” Journal of Business Ethics, published online on 27 November 2015.
  • Olaison, L., & Sørensen, B.M. (2014): “The Failure of Entrepreneurship: Failure, Fiasco, Fraud.” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 20 (2), 193–211.
  • Parker, M. (2002): “Queering Management and Organization.” Gender, Work & Organization, 9 (2), 146–166.
  • Parker, M., Cheney, G., Fournier, V., & Land, C. (2014): The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization. London: Routledge.
  • Phillips, M. (2013): “On Being Green and Being Enterprising: Narrative and the Ecopreneurial Self.” Organization, 20 (6), 794–817.
  • Porter, M.E., & Kramer, M.R. (2011): “The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value, Rethinking Capitalism.” Harvard Business Review, January–February, 62–77.
  • Prichard, C., & Mir, R. (2010): “Organizing Values.” Organization, 17 (5), 507–515.
  • Rehn, A., & Taalas, S.L. (2004): “On Crime and Assumptions.” In: C. Steyaert & D. Hjorth (eds.): Movements of Entrepreneurship: Narrative/Discursive Approaches in Entrepreneurship Studies. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 144–159.
  • Sliwa, M., Spoelstra, S., Sørensen, B.M., & Land, C. (2013): “Profaning the Sacred in Leadership Studies: A reading of Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase.” Organization, 20 (6), 860–880.
  • Sørensen, B.M. (2014): “Changing the Memory of Suffering: An Organizational Aesthetics of the Dark Side.” Organization Studies, 35 (2), 279–302.
  • Steyaert, C., Beyes, T., & Parker, M. (2016): The Routledge Companion to Reinventing Management Education. London: Routledge.
  • Taalas, S.L., & Hirsjärvi, I. (2013): “Fandom as Mode of Second Production – Active Audienceship of the Rising Shadow.” International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 7 (3–4), 245–262.
  • Weiskopf, R., & Steyaert, C. (2009): “Metamorphoses in Entrepreneurship Studies: Towards an Affirmative Politics of Entrepreneuring.” In: D. Hjorth & S. Steyaert (eds.): The Politics and Aesthetics of Entrepreneurship. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 183–201.
Christian Garmann Johnsen is Assistant Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His research revolves around the use of philosophy in organization studies. Predominately, he is interested in how philosophical concepts can be used to both challenge common sense perceptions and open up to alternative ways of understanding the organization. Currently, he is engaged in a project on sustainable entrepreneurship supported by the Velux foundation.
Saara L. Taalas is Professor in Business Studies and Head of Life@home and Sustainable Production research initiative at Linnaeus University, Sweden. Her research interests focus alternative readings of value creation in organizations, systemic entrepreneurship and active audiences in post-industrial markets. Her work has been published in journals such as ‘Entrepreneurship and Regional Development’, ‘Management and Organizational History’, ‘Philosophy of Management’, and ‘International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy’.
Lena Olaison is Assistant Professor at Department at Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and research fellow at the Life@home and Sustainable Production research initiative at Linnaeus University, Sweden. Lena is involved in a research project on sustainable entrepreneurship supported by the Velux foundation and a proud member of the editorial collective of ‘ephemera: theory and politics and organization’.