"Discussant Comments for Paper 195"
Comments for paper by Anna Young, “What models cannot see” IPA Conference, Cardiff 2012 Sara Brorström; firstname.lastname@example.org OVERALL COMMENTS The paper is interesting and highlights an important theme. The ESG focus seems to be integrated in a lot of different organisations nowadays and is thus a topical theme for the study. The data collection is broad and ambitious, which gives opportunity for interesting conclusions and analysis. There is a need to clarify the papers aim and research questions. This would help the reader to follow the paper forward and clarify the read thread. Several and different aims are found in the paper, which makes it difficult to know what the main aim is for the paper. The aim and research-questions could for instance be separated and put in an own section. The red thread is lacking, motivate every section and get back to your aim and questions through the paper. The frame of reference could be used much more and could decide how the empirics are presented in the text, which also would help to draw conclusions and makes the red thread visible. The conclusions could be developed more, what do we know now that we did not know before? Why is the black box more open than before? Motivate! The contribution to open black boxes is a bit vague – how is that done and in what way have you done it? Separate this paper from the overall PhD-project that the reader might not know about. Highlight the material that has been used in this paper and what aim this paper respond to. Comments by section INTRODUCTION The introduction as well as the motivation of the study consists of several aims and questions, which make it unclear what will be the focus of this paper. The overall aim is to open black boxes of finance and investment decision-making. This is an interesting aim, but a bit vague. What does that actually mean? Here is it also stated that the concepts of calculation (Callon & Law) will be used, but this is not used much in the conclusions and discussions and could be developed. What does that mean in practice? Another aim is to examine how and to what degrees to which equity investors and found managers integrate environmental, social and corporate (ESG) into the calculative process. This must be connected to the method; you choose a company for the reason that they are special in integration ESG, could you say to what degrees in general? It is then stated this integration is difficult, why is it difficult? How unusual is it? Why? Could you give the reader some more background information here? Q: At page 3 you ask several questions; are they research questions that should be answered here? Or in the PhD-project in general? Also here do the questions need to be connected to the method. (Are you studying integration, translation or decision- making?). The information that is given here could be made more clear by already here describe the paper and it’s connection to the overall PhD. Separate the aim of the paper with the aim of the whole project. Q: The PhD consists of three papers, were these themes decided a priori or after the data collection were done? Q: The method is here said to be a case study, why is this the best method to use? Motivate by using your research questions and aim. Q: A short description of teamGEM is done and you say that they accept a messy world and provide a unique perspective. How do you know that? Have you compared to others? How rare is their perspective? Why do they separate, what is their aim of doing that? Q: The contribution is said to be to open black boxes of investments decision-making. This need to be clarified, how and why do this study contribute to this? How does this study separate from other similar studies? MOTIVATING THE STUDY The frame of reference is suitable and concepts are presented that can help to understand the events in teamGEM. However, the concepts need to be used more and this section could also include what you have chosen not to use and why. For instance is decision-making studied but no theories about how decisions are made in organizations are used. That could help to understand group process and why some aspects are focused while others are not. It might also help to get closer to the people in the study. The paper touches upon practices, what people do, that could be developed theoretically (maybe in another paper). Your paper could also be extended by writings of how calculative models were developed and used, as for instance writings by Miller and Rose, Hopwood or Porter. Q: Is there any earlier empirical studies that you build upon and develop? Earlier writings? What is done? What is left to do? For instance studies about opening the black boxes of finance, that you write is a growing field, should they not be included in the frame of reference? Or if not, why not? Q: P5; “In this study we examine how in the past ESG have been considered overflows and have been externalised from the conventional framing of investment markets and accounting”. Could that be developed? Could the concepts of overflows and framing be used in your analyse? Q: P7 section 2: “This study aims at add to this scrutinising of non-human objects and specially the calculative device of found managers”. Another aim. Q: The concept valorisation – is that your concept or is it used by others? If it is yours you could make a bigger point of it. Define it and describe how you have developed it, how you reached here. Can you give empirical examples? RESEARCH METHODS AND DATA ANALYSIS Some of the information here could have been presented earlier, to help the reader know what to expect. The data collection and the access at the organization are impressive and give the researcher a great opportunity to develop interesting and new insights. Especially the in-situ observations are very interesting and a method worth to develop. Q: When doing observations, what was the focus? And how is it connected to ESG? Q: Large data set; 52 interviews, 65 meetings and participating observations, but who was interviewed? How did that selection occur? What questions were asked? Was all of this data used in this paper or did the data collection differ for different questions/papers? How was the field notes constructed? Did you write down what they said, what they did, how they acted, how they looked? Q: You write that you follow two teams but just teamGEM for this paper, why did you choose this team over the other? EMPIRICS Q: The person Fenwick is recurrent in the text, as is Reeve. Why are these persons recurrent, where are the other 50? What other important actors are there? If you chose to shadow especially important actor that is an interesting method, but should then be presented in the method. Q: It is said that the team pick quality companies, but what is that? How is it defined? Is that the same as integrating ESG? And is the team choosing quality because that would give them a higher profit? Or a good name? A marketing strategy? There is also a difference between saying and doing, why saying something? Why acting in a certain way? Do they say the same thing in interviews as in meetings? The quotations are from interviews only? What about the observations of meetings? Q: The Company report at p. 22, is it a ranking or are they equally important? Q: When you say that the ESG is part of the analysis, is that a good thing or not? Is it then inside the frame? Should it be put outside to be highlighted more? Is there a risk to forget about it if it is integrated in this way? C: Seems to be a lot of storytelling going on, could be another paper. DISCUSSION C: The discussion is more of a summary than a discussion. The text would benefit from using the frame of references more and make the contribution visible. Get back to your aim and research question, and answer them. Here also decision-making theory would help to understand what you have seen. C: An interesting conclusion is that the quality was not turned into numbers but the numbers were turned into quality, why is it possible in this context? Is it unusual? Q: You make a point of that the members of the team not only are accountants, were that visible at meetings and in interviews? Did they have different points of view? Q: P33; “one of the big surprises…investments and valuations were comprised of much more than the rational and calculation process”. Why is this surprising? You write about it in the beginning and choose the company since they highlighted quality aspects. Is it surprising because of the context? CONCLUSIONS C: Would be beneficial with an introduction were you again go back to the aim and focus of the paper, help the reader! Think about the red thread throughout the paper. Use the frame of reference more here. C: The concept of valorisation could be developed. What do the actors do in the name of valorisation? Maybe the concept could be presented here first, or in the discussion, make it more of a conclusion that a starting point. Also the concept of qualculation could be developed here, and use examples from the empirical study to clarify. Q: What are the main conclusions of the paper? What do we know now that we did not know before? Make it clear!