Performativity in Business: ERC Project Blog

June 27, 2012

The blog of the ERC Research Project PERFORMABUSINESS (“Performativity in Business Education, Management Consulting and Entrepreneurial Finance”) is now online at http://www.csi.mines-paristech.fr/performabusiness/. The blog is meant to report on the team’s ongoing research and ideas. From the project’s summary:

“The world of business is a world of culture: a world of rituals, artefacts and idioms which is fit for anthropological and sociological analysis. The notion of performativity serves as a useful vehicle to analyse the culture that do characterise business schools, consultancy firms, corporations, investment banks, start-up companies and other sites of business life. This notion refers to performance in the sense of efficacy in the achievement of tasks, but also to the institutive capacities of knowledge and to an idea of practice as acting and staging. This research project seeks at providing sound social-scientific knowledge on the performativity of business through a theoretical clarification of the concept and a set of empirical investigations in three relevant areas. The first area is education in business administration. The project analyses the performativity of the case method of instruction and of similar pedagogical techniques that emphasise singularity, exemplarity and realism in the provision of meaningful and effective narratives. The second area is management consulting. The project analyses the performativity of consultancy missions and management devices, with a focus on the practices of presentation and communication used by consultants in order to construct convincing realities. The third area is entrepreneurial finance. The project analyses the performativity of business models, business plans and business cases in the orientation of investment and financing in entrepreneurial settings. Empirical investigation in all three areas is grounded in a qualitative, case-based approach. The research project aims at generating detailed and original factual evidence of the performativity of business in all three areas, and also at providing a coordinated and rigorous assessment of performativity as problematic reality in today’s risk-oriented global business culture.”

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