This project starts in 2009 and is directed and run alone by Kristina
Tamm Hallström during three years with funding from The Swedish Research Council Formas. The project departs from ideas of an ‘audit society’ and critical perspectives on auditing practices and takes an interest in what happens as companies start preparing for a certification process aiming at improving social and environmental organizational conduct. Theoretically the research combines neoinstitutional organization theory with an actor-centered power perspective including constructivist analyses of actor categorizations and agency.

The specific purpose is to contribute with empirically based knowledge about how criteria in a CSR standard regarding stakeholder involvement is interpreted into organizational practice, and to provide explanations to why such interpretations differ between four Swedish corporations that are examined with a process approach during the months preceding an audit. The involvement of and dynamics between auditors, auditees and engaged stakeholders are specifically examined. Of particular interest is the way actor categories are used to distinguish between relevant stakeholders, and more specifically the processes in which such categories are established and what consequences categorizations lead to in terms of stakeholder inclusion and influence.