What Makes Organization?

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This article investigates a segmentation model used by the Danish Tax and Customs Administration to classify businesses’ motivational postures. The article uses two different conceptualizations of performativity to analyze what the model’s segmentations do; Hacking’s idea of making up people and MacKenzie’s idea of performativity. Based on these two approaches I demonstrate that the segmentation model represents and performs the businesses as it ‘makes up’ certain new ways to be a business and as the businesses can be seen as ‘moving targets’. With inspiration from MacKenzie my following argument is that the segmentation model posits a remarkable cleverness in that it simultaneously alters what it represents and represents this altered reality to confirm the accuracy of its own model of the businesses’ postures. However, despite this cleverness the model bears a blind spot as it assumes a world wherein everything around the model is in motion and can be shaped, whereas it believes itself to be stable. As indicated in the article, this assumption turns out problematic as the tax administration questions the model’s ability to produce valid comparisons. All in all, the article provides a detailed description and analysis of the model’s performativity and provides an example of a performativity study which in its methodology differs from the methodological criteria set up by
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [wp]
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2012
SeriesWMO Working Paper Series

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