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How Do Measures Become Academically Acceptable? A Case Study of the KLD Database

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laurence Vigneau


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Measurement is central to knowledge production in the study of business and society. Over the past twenty-five years, the Kinder Lydenberg and Domini (KLD) database has become central to the corporate social performance literature and is one of the field’s most significant contributions to organization studies. Yet little is known about the process by which scholars accept databases as the appropriate measure of a phenomenon. Relying on concepts from actor-network theory and using KLD as a case study, we analyzed 572 articles referring to the database and interviewed experts in order to unpack the activities that have enabled its acceptance. The resulting process model makes visible the practical, symbolic and conceptual work involved in knowledge construction. It documents the patterns of translation and mutual influence undertaken by academics and practitioners around social performance metrics. Finally, we discuss implications for the business and society field and our understanding of knowledge production.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gond JP, Vigneau L, Johnson-Cramer ME

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management

Year of Conference: 2018

Number of Volumes: 1

Print publication date: 09/07/2018

Online publication date: 09/07/2018

Acceptance date: 28/03/2018

Publisher: Academy of Management