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Accreditations & Certifications
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
Queensland University of Technology.
2016 (English)In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation / [ed] Craig E. Carroll, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2016Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A wide range of literature on for example non-state governance, market construction, accounting and management in general refers to the notion of accreditations and certifications as crucial for the mechanisms through which organizations and organizational practices gain acceptance and appreciation within their relevant fields or contexts. Accreditations as well as certifications might operate both through legal and informal requirements on organizations to meet standards of acceptable behavior (accreditations) or quality of specific activities or products (certifications). As both concepts seek to capture the processes trough which third parties (i.e. certification and accreditation agents/bodies) evaluate and thereby also monitor different aspects of organizational life; and as they both influence an organization’s ability to operate within a given social context in similarly there is no reason to uphold theoretical distinction between these two.


Accreditation and certifications are usually seen as an expression of what Michael Power described as audit society where different forms of measurement have become an integrated part of how we organize and manage a wide range of uncertainties and risks in areas such as politics, economy and sustainability. The production, circulation and use of accreditations and certifications function not only as tools by which individual organizations can be assessed, evaluated and governed. In more general terms these tools create stability and predictability in a given area of the social life by signaling what characteristics of an organization are crucial and attractive; and how to assure that these characteristics are achieved, upheld and communicated. Accreditations and certifications are involved in forming both individual as well collective perceptions about organizations in terms of their identities, goals, structures and activities.

 In the following we start by addressing the way in which accreditations and certifications are produced and diffused. In the second part of this entry we pay a closer attention to how these forms of evaluations influence the way organizations are perceived (and eventually also acted upon) by their constituencies – i.e. the role of accreditations and certifications for organizations’ legitimacy, reputation and status. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2016.
Keyword [en]
Accreditations, certifications, audit society, media, communication
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies; Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-277204OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-277204DiVA: diva2:904068
Available from: 2016-02-17 Created: 2016-02-17 Last updated: 2016-02-17

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