From Values to Value: The Commensuration of Sustainability Reporting and the Crowding out of Morality

Koen van Bommel, Andreas Rasche, André Spicer

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Drawing on extensive case study evidence, this study unpacks sustainability reporting’s evolution from a moral values-based practice towards a financialized value-based one. We argue that this transition can be seen as a commensuration project and we examine the dynamics of this process. We find that increased levels of commensuration have moved sustainability reporting away from a focus on moral responsibility (i.e. ‘doing the right thing’) to a focus on strategic value creation for the firm. We theorize this crowding out of morality as a process of amoralization supported by the rigid cognitive framing of social and environmental issues (objectification) and the monetized coordination of relevant social interactions (marketization). We outline implications of our analysis for the scholarly debate on sustainability reporting and commensuration.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventEGOS: Surprise in and Around Organizations: Journeys to the Unexpected - Estonian Business School/Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 5 Jul 20187 Jul 2018
Conference number: 34


LocationEstonian Business School/Tallinn University
Internet address


  • Commensuration
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Integrated reporting
  • Morality
  • Sustainability reporting

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