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What is Social Status and How Does it Impact the Generation of Novel Ideas?

Matthew S. Bothner (ESMT, Berlin)
Frédéric Godart (INSEAD, France)
Noah Askin (INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France)
Wonjae Lee (Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea)

The Generation, Recognition and Legitimation of Novelty

ISBN: 978-1-80117-998-0, eISBN: 978-1-80117-997-3

Publication date: 20 January 2022


Status constitutes a core research concept across the social sciences. However, its definition is still contested, and questions persist about its consequences. We begin with a flexible, provisional definition: status is a relational asset possessed by social actors insofar as they are highly regarded by highly regarded others. Using this definition as a backdrop, we develop a fourfold typology based on how status is used as an asset and from where it is derived. The typology allows us to explore the implications of considering status as either a quality signal or a good and of viewing status-conferring ties as either deference-based or dominance-based. We then consider the implications of our framework for the generation of novelty. Although status has been connected to many social and economic outcomes, because of competing predictions in the literature – the generation of novelty has been linked to all regions of the status distribution – we sketch intuitions for future research on the status–novelty linkage. We also work toward greater conceptual clarity by comparing and contrasting status with selected related concepts: quality, reputation, and legitimacy. We conclude with considerations for future research, including cautionary remarks regarding network-analytic measurement in light of the definition we propose.



Bothner, M.S., Godart, F., Askin, N. and Lee, W. (2022), "What is Social Status and How Does it Impact the Generation of Novel Ideas?", Cattani, G., Deichmann, D. and Ferriani, S. (Ed.) The Generation, Recognition and Legitimation of Novelty (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 77), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 111-136.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Matthew S. Bothner, Frédéric Godart, Noah Askin and Wonjae Lee