How ‘matter matters’ for morality: the case of a stock exchange

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    While matter clearly matters to organization theory, its absence from the study of organizational ethics is striking. Despite the obdurate materiality of the workplace, critical scholarship on organizations and morality sees ethics as interpersonal, subjective and embodied. Organizations, meanwhile, are characterised by moral anomie and dysfunction. This paper advances our understanding of the material entanglements of organizational morality, drawing on the science and technology studies inflected study of markets to show how moral orders arise in dialectic between the social and the material. It argues that moral orders are entangled in the material infrastructures of organizations. Its empirical case is the founding and development of a small-company focused stock exchange, OFEX, launched in London in 1995, accessed through elite interviews and documentary work. The paper seeks to develop our understanding of morality in critical organization studies, to further defend the Weberian notion of ‘ethics of office’ by emphasising the sociomaterial dimension of organizational morality, and to contribute to an ongoing renaissance of the study of morality as a sociological phenomenon. There are implications for managers and engaged scholars alike.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    Number of pages27
    JournalHuman Relations
    Early online date26 Oct 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2020


    • Scoiomateriality
    • Ethics of office
    • Organizational morality
    • Ethics
    • Materiality
    • Agency
    • Stock exchange
    • OFEX


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