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The illusory nature of standards: the case of standards for organic agriculture

The illusory nature of standards: the case of standards for organic agriculture Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the implications of the paradoxical situation in which standard setters are placed when standardising human practice. Contrary to standards, human practices are ambiguous, heterogeneous, and highly context dependent; in contrast, standards are unambiguous and apply across cases. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is primarily theoretical and its analysis is based on conceptual content and extent analysis. For the purpose of illustration, the paper draws on the example of organic agricultural standards. Findings – The author shows how illusion creation is innate in the practice of standardisation and therefore the risk of creating untrustworthy standards is prevalent for standard setters. Originality/value – The paper provides a new understanding of standards and demonstrates the need to research standardization processes in depth and bring in a much more critical perspective to this prevalent but largely invisible practice. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Society and Business Review Emerald Publishing

The illusory nature of standards: the case of standards for organic agriculture

Society and Business Review , Volume 6 (3): 11 – Oct 4, 2011

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References (29)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1746-5680
DOI
10.1108/17465681111170993
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the implications of the paradoxical situation in which standard setters are placed when standardising human practice. Contrary to standards, human practices are ambiguous, heterogeneous, and highly context dependent; in contrast, standards are unambiguous and apply across cases. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is primarily theoretical and its analysis is based on conceptual content and extent analysis. For the purpose of illustration, the paper draws on the example of organic agricultural standards. Findings – The author shows how illusion creation is innate in the practice of standardisation and therefore the risk of creating untrustworthy standards is prevalent for standard setters. Originality/value – The paper provides a new understanding of standards and demonstrates the need to research standardization processes in depth and bring in a much more critical perspective to this prevalent but largely invisible practice.

Journal

Society and Business ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 4, 2011

Keywords: Denmark; Sweden; Agriculture; Quality standards; Standardisation; Trust; Illusions; Paradox; Organic agriculture

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