Drawing on the notion of imprinting, we develop a framework for understanding category emergence and durability by suggesting that the durability of a category reflects its emergence conditions. We propose four ideal-typical mechanisms – consensus, proof, fiat, and truce – that arise from differences in the degree of agreement and the centralization of the authority regarding category definitions. Our framework not only relates category durability to emergence but also highlights the role of category promoters and constituencies in an ongoing process of category maintenance. We discuss implications for understanding the dynamics of the categorization process in various social and product market contexts.
Rhee, E.Y., Lo, J.Y., Kennedy, M.T. and Fiss, P.C. (2017), "Things That Last? Category Creation, Imprinting, and Durability
Emerald Publishing Limited
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