The validation of prior learning has over the last decade become a widespread phenomenon (Andersson & Guo, 2009; Andersson & Osman, 2008; Colardyn & Bjørnavold, 2004; Hult & Andersson, 2008; Jarvis, 2007; Stenfors-Hayes, Griffiths, & Ogunleye, 2008; Tudor, 1991). Researchers, policy-makers and practitioners alike have become interested in validation as the means of promoting equality and inclusion in education and training, creating a more flexible labour market and promoting integration and social cohesion (see e.g. Jackson, 2011; Jarvis, 2007). In other words, validation is seen as a panacea for many of the problems facing contemporary Western societies. Until recently, however, researchers have

Andreas Diedrich is an Associate Professor in Management and Organization Studies at the Gothenburg Research Institute, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In his research he is interested in the role of knowledge and technology in organizing. At present he studies the development and maintenance of procedures for recognizing prior vocational learning in Sweden, Australia and South Africa. Correspondence: Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI), School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, BOX 603, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. Email: andreas.diedrich@gri.gu.se

predominantly focused on the effects of validation for individuals, groups, organizations and countries, and largely ignored validation practices.