Consider the representation of value in the organizations we rely on for our long retirements. Social security has been symbolized by private mechanisms such as the employment-related pension scheme, yet, reporting requirement would impute its fitness for financial trading. A scheme's financier sees a mounting unsecured debt where its members see practical value. Between the two, a steward who may not profit from its office delegates it to back-office agents whose fiduciary management is engendered by box office-sized bonuses. Standard theorisation has foundered. The architecture of the pension scheme would challenge the most ardent advocate of agency theory; its market rationality enfeebles stewardship theory; while resource dependency and stakeholder analysis shrug off the complexity of substitutable interests. A dialectical reconstruction of network theory allows comprehension at the systemic level, instantiating the symbolic values with the real.
pensions; superannuation; value chain; governance; defined benefit; network theory; dialectic