Modern, globally available management concepts and organizational forms need to pass a powerful filter of local structural and cultural opportunities in order to become regarded acceptable and legitimate.
Currently, this project analyzes the processes through which concepts like shareholder value and corporate social responsibility are institutionalized as appropriate organizational practices. It focuses on the modifications the concepts are subjected to and on the multiple meanings assigned to them.
It is assumed that institution building projects resemble social movements and may be analyzed via discursive traces left (e.g., in the business press, annual reports, organizational structure). Their analysis requires an understanding of how consensus is mobilized and meaning is modified.
In a first step, the media discourse, the framings used to sponsor or oppose the concept of shareholder value as well as the role of certain groups of actors and the discourse coalitions they engage in, have been analyzed. A second step uses annual reports of Austrian publicly-traded corporations to trace the spread and the diverging meanings of the concept of shareholder value and its relation to apparently opposing concepts like corporate social responsibility.