Setting the Habit of Capitalization
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The quandaries of business valuation have marked the pedagogy of business administration since the early days. But it is now commonly admitted, at least in legitimate financial circles, that the value of a business resides primarily in its earning power, that is, in its capacity to generate a stream of future revenues for an investor. How did this idea take shape? An examination of early pedagogical materials at the Harvard Business School (1920-1940) and, in particular, of the vagaries of the idea of capitalization and its exercising in the classroom, provides a fine occasion to advance understanding of the meaning of such ideals of business and business value, and of their institutionalization. This work is co-authored with Liliana Doganova, who is also a researcher at the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Mines ParisTech, currently working on the historical sociology of valuation methodologies.
Fabian Muniesa is a researcher at the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Mines ParisTech. He looks at calculation, valuation, and organization from a pragmatist standpoint, with a focus on the problems of business pedagogy, managerial performance, financial innovation, and economic reasoning.