The Illusory Nature of Standards: The Case of Standards for Organic Agriculture
Society and Business Review, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 249-259, 2011
Posted: 22 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 20, 2012
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the implications of the paradoxical situation in which standard setters are placed when standardizing human practice. Contrary to standards, human practices are ambiguous, heterogeneous, and highly contest 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 expert 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 standardization 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 fixing a much more critical perspective to this prevalent but largely invisible practice.
Keywords: Denmark, Sweden, Agriculture, Quality standards, Standardisation, Trust, Illusions, Paradox, Organic agriculture
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