Configuring Value Conflicts in Markets

Configuring Value Conflicts in Markets

Edited by Susanna Alexius and Kristina Tamm Hallström

Based on fourteen empirical case studies, this far-reaching book explains why and how markets are organized, through examining the role of values and value work in markets.

Chapter 9: Values aligned: the organization of conflicting values within the World Economic Forum

Christina Garsten and Adrienne Sörbom

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Once a year, the global elite gather in Davos, the Swiss ski resort, for the World Economic Forum to mull over the state of the world. In this snowy mountain town, the world's leaders in industry and finance present their views on the world economy, their visions, and argue for the best solutions. During this week in late January, Davos changes character-from being a sleepy alpine town, to become the hub of influence, power and prestige. At the 2012 meeting, the global economy and capitalism itself topped the agendas. The sense of urgency caused by the financial crisis sprinkled the town with a certain frenzied activity and nervousness. But there was also a sense of possibility in the transformation of capitalism, the opening of new markets for innovation and profit, for global collaboration and mutual benefit. The streets of Davos were filled with delegates in elegant business suits and overcoats, easily identifiable by their badges and briefcases sporting the World Economic Forum logo. BMWs, Mercedes and other pricey car brands were conspicuously abundant, as were the middle-aged businessmen stepping out of them. Banners with the World Economic Forum logo decorated buildings, hotel lobbies and café menus. Buses and houses also hosted ads for individual countries, such as India, Brazil and Mexico. On a busy street corner, Canadian mounties in red posed in front of a stand serving free 'beaver tails' (pastry). There was little chance visitors could miss the major event of the week.

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