Speculative Value: The Communicative Constitution of Authority in a High-tech Entrepreneurship Accelerator
Across the globe, the number of ‘accelerators’ nurturing high-tech entrepreneurial startups has increased dramatically, accompanying a burgeoning interest in, and valorization of, entrepreneurship. Drawing on economic performativity and communication as constitutive of organization (CCO) thinking, this study develops an in-depth longitudinal analysis of an accelerator in Boulder, Colorado, along with the startups associated with it. It focuses on the ways in which the accelerator’s authoritative text (a notion associated with CCO theorizing) shapes the claims to value characterizing startups’ practices. Building upon an analysis of an integration-differentiation tension characterizing this scene, the study considers how an array of agencies intertwine in producing claims to value, and how the particular configuration of practices generates unintended (and perhaps undesirable) consequences for entrepreneurs. Bio Tim Kuhn is one of the most influential scholars within the CCO (communication as constitutive of organization) approach to communication and organizing/organization. This is how he describes his research interests: Guided by efforts to reframe commercial firms in distinctly communicative terms, my research examines the constitution of authority, with particular attention to how knowledge, identities, and conceptions of value emerge in the sociomaterial, power-laden communication practices. I am broadly interested in the ways communication constitutes organizations and organizing practice--a move that suggests that groups and organizations should be understood as ongoing systems of interconnected discursive practices that depend on, and generate, authority. Communication, in this formulation, is best understood as a struggle over meaning through which the political, cultural, material, and economic become entangled.
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