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The Performativity of Literature Reviewing: Constituting the Corporate Social Responsibility Literature through Re-Presentation and Intervention

Gond, J-P. ORCID: 0000-0002-9331-6957, Mena, S. and Mosonyi, S. (2020). The Performativity of Literature Reviewing: Constituting the Corporate Social Responsibility Literature through Re-Presentation and Intervention. Organizational Research Methods, doi: 10.1177/1094428120935494

Abstract

Although numerous books and articles provide toolkit approaches to explain how to conduct literature reviews, these prescriptions regard literature reviewing as the production of representations of academic fields. Such representationalism is rarely questioned. Building on insights from social studies of science, we conceptualize literature reviewing as a performative endeavor that co-constitutes the literature it is supposed to “neutrally” describe, through a dual movement of re-presenting—constructing an account different from the literature, and intervening—adding to and potentially shaping this literature. We discuss four problems inherent to this movement of performativity—description, explicitness, provocation, and simulacrum—and then explore them through a systematic review of 48 reviews of the literature on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the period 1975-2019. We provide evidence for the performative role of literature reviewing in the CSR field through both re-presenting and intervening. We find that reviews performed the CSR literature and, accordingly, the field’s boundaries, categories, priorities in a self-sustaining manner. By reflexively subjecting our own systematic review to the four performative problems we discuss, we also derive implications of performative analysis for the practice of literature reviewing.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final and definitive version of this manuscript has been published in: Organization Research Methods © 2020; all rights reserved, Sage.
Publisher Keywords: performativity, literature reviews, corporate social responsibility, reviews of reviews, systematic literature review
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: Business School > Management
Date Deposited: 28 May 2020 11:43
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/24251
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