Journal article

Organizational and epistemic change: The growth of the art investment field

E Coslor, C Spaenjers

Accounting, Organizations and Society | Pergamon | Published : 2016


What can studying the creation of knowledge tell us about how new technical fields emerge and develop? This paper shows how a knowledge community may be necessary to support the legitimacy of new products that undergo performance evaluation before purchase. Using historical and ethnographic data covering half a century, we review the growth of the art investment field through an epistemic cultures lens. Technical knowledge about the financial characteristics of art has been developed alongside practical knowledge about how best to structure investment ventures. Investment venture success has been determined by legitimacy as much as by profitability, given durable expectations about the evalu..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the contributions of Karin Knorr Cetina, Yuval Millo, Amanda Sharkey, Olav Velthuis, Cynthia Hardy, research assistant Joel Barnes, Will Goetzmann, and many others, including the AOS editor David Cooper and our anonymous reviewers. This work has benefitted from comments from the University of Chicago Organizations and Markets workshop, the University of Melbourne markets workshop, and the HEC Paris SnO workshop. Research data and revision were supported by the American Philosophical Society Lewis and Clark grant, University of Chicago Overseas Dissertation Research Fund, University of Chicago Nicholson Center for British Studies, University of Chicago Markovitz Fellowship and the University of Melbourne.