Avoiding competition: the effects of rankings in the food waste field

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Ranks are often seen as drivers for competition. This chapter critically examines the link between ranks and competition by investigating the actors’ actual desire for the highest positions. Empirically, the author examines the role of the food waste hierarchy in establishing status competition in the food waste field. This discrete ranking creates ‘winners’ at the top (the challengers that prevent food waste by generating demand for it), who respond enthusiastically to the food waste hierarchy to benefit from status gains. In contrast, the ‘losers’ at the bottom (biogas plants) show very little interest in improving their position. They do not see themselves as players in such a competitive game and direct their attention towards other competitions outside the field. The chapter argues that ranks do not necessarily induce competition, since the actors may be involved in multiple competitions and decide whether it is worth pursuing high status within each one.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompetition: What It Is and Why It Happens
EditorsStefan Arora-Jonsson, Nils Brunsson, Raimund Hasse, Katarina Lagerström
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages130
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • competition
  • desire
  • status
  • ranks
  • organization
  • start-ups
  • biogas
  • food waste
  • field


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