Commensuration and Legitimacy in Standards

Lara Anne Hale

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


This paper claims that commensuration is a form of valuation crucial for the legitimacy of standards. It is thus far poorly understood how standards are constructed in a legitimate manner, let alone the role of commensuration, the micro-process of converting qualities into measurable quantities for the purpose of comparison. The aim is to show how commensuration affects legitimacy at different phases of a standard's formation and diffusion. In order to do this, the lens is placed upon the relationship between the commensuration processes and input and output legitimacies. Research on the Active House sustainable building standard reveals that this activity involves navigating deeply interrelated qualities and attempting to formulate their new measurable meanings in a legitimate way. It also shows that those involved in the standard's processes utilize commensuration in order to secure input and output legitimacy in different stages, either technical for the standard's specifications or contextual for the standard's implementation. Based on these findings, the paper offers a model of the commensurative development undergone in order to develop the legitimacy of a standard.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2015: Opening Governance - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 7 Aug 201511 Aug 2015
Conference number: 75


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2015
Internet address


  • Commensuration
  • Legitimacy
  • Standards

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