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Book part
Publication date: 17 March 2017

Tyler Wry and Adam R. Castor

Studies have shown that actors who affiliate with multiple categories generally do so at their own peril. Still, category spanning is routinely observed, although it is…

Abstract

Studies have shown that actors who affiliate with multiple categories generally do so at their own peril. Still, category spanning is routinely observed, although it is less understood. We address this gap by a longitudinal study of category spanning among nanotube technology inventors. Our results highlight the importance of the evolving structure of category relationships, actor embeddedness within the structure, and interactions with other factors, including the attractiveness of related categories. When a category is relationally similar to others, associated inventors are more likely to engage in category spanning, whereas when a category is dissimilar, inventors are more likely to remain within it.

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From Categories to Categorization: Studies in Sociology, Organizations and Strategy at the Crossroads
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-238-1

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Book part
Publication date: 21 December 2010

Balázs Kovács and Michael T. Hannan

Recent research finds that producers assigned to multiple categories receive less attention and legitimacy and have lower chances of success and survival. We argue that…

Abstract

Recent research finds that producers assigned to multiple categories receive less attention and legitimacy and have lower chances of success and survival. We argue that the effect of category spanning on the reception from the audience depends on the fuzziness of the categories. When a set of categories lacks contrast (have very fuzzy boundaries), spanning them does not cause much additional confusion for the audience, thus the penalties associated with spanning ought to be slight. But, when the contrasts of the categories spanned are high, audience members will have difficulty interpreting the producer, so spanning categories will be devalued more. We study these processes using data from an online-review web site. Results show that audience members devalue organizations that span high-contrast categories more than those that span low-contrast categories. These effects are weaker for more active reviewers.

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Categories in Markets: Origins and Evolution
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-594-6

Book part
Publication date: 17 March 2017

Lionel Paolella and Amanda Sharkey

This article integrates two approaches – the “categorization as a theoretical tool” and the “typicality judgment” – that both emphasize audience confusion as a mechanism…

Abstract

This article integrates two approaches – the “categorization as a theoretical tool” and the “typicality judgment” – that both emphasize audience confusion as a mechanism through which category spanners become devalued or ignored. However, the two perspectives differ in their specification of why confusion will likely lead to devaluation or ignoring. In this study, we consider the interplay of these two approaches in the setting of corporate law market. We find that spanning product categories has a U-shaped relationship with perceived clarity of law firm identity. Although neither of the two perspectives alone can explain our findings, they can do so together.

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From Categories to Categorization: Studies in Sociology, Organizations and Strategy at the Crossroads
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-238-1

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2021

Giovanni Formilan, Gino Cattani and Simone Ferriani

Consecration represents the most definitive form of legitimation in every cultural field. Complementing previous research focused on individual, contextual, and structural…

Abstract

Consecration represents the most definitive form of legitimation in every cultural field. Complementing previous research focused on individual, contextual, and structural conditions underpinning consecration, this paper takes a sequence analytical perspective and explores whether diverse creative trajectories are more frequently associated with consecration. We introduce the notion of signature style and the pace of category spanning as key features for consecration. We argue that a consecrated signature style is just as likely to result from a producer’s adherence to a specific style over time or from a consistent (and fast-paced) category-spanning creative trajectory. The resulting identity will be specialist in the first case, eclectic in the second. We analyze the stylistic trajectories of 863 electronic music artists and find robust support to our hypothesis. The analysis is corroborated by further exploratory findings that identify intriguing questions for future research. By examining the organization of creative journeys in the career of cultural producers, this paper emphasizes the importance of considering the unfolding and rhythm of creativity over time. This temporal perspective sheds new light on the dynamics of distinctiveness and consecration in cultural fields.

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Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-874-4

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2015

Anne Bowers

The growth of research on the cognitive origins of market performance has focused on the impact of categories as a primary cognitive mechanism by which exchange occurs. In…

Abstract

The growth of research on the cognitive origins of market performance has focused on the impact of categories as a primary cognitive mechanism by which exchange occurs. In this research, performance outcomes are typically reduced when firms and products fail to meet audiences’ expectations about membership into categories. The ensuing literature has focused on spanning categories as evidence of not meeting audience expectations while largely ignoring the specific study of expectations themselves. This chapter argues that expectations for market behavior are important in their own right, and can impact market outcomes even when categorical boundaries are respected. Using the market for engagement rings as a setting, I show how lack of adherence to expectations can both increase and decrease market value even as the engagement rings adhere to categorical boundaries. Rather than simply focusing on category spanning as evidence that audience expectations have not been met, the findings suggest that expectations should be considered explicitly, with implications for competitive strategy.

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Cognition and Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-946-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 March 2017

Rodolphe Durand, Nina Granqvist and Anna Tyllström

The popularity of research into categories has grown in recent decades and shows no sign of abating. This introductory article takes stock of the research into two facets…

Abstract

The popularity of research into categories has grown in recent decades and shows no sign of abating. This introductory article takes stock of the research into two facets of categorization, addressing it both as a cognitive and a social process. We advocate a rebalance toward the social process of categorization, paying more heed to the entity to be categorized, the actors involved, their acts, and the context and timing, which informs these activities. We summarize the contributions to the volume in relation to these dimensions and briefly discuss avenues for future research.

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From Categories to Categorization: Studies in Sociology, Organizations and Strategy at the Crossroads
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-238-1

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Book part
Publication date: 20 January 2022

Brian P. Reschke and Ming D. Leung

Since initial demonstrations that categories are consequential for evaluation, scholars of organizations and markets have attended to dynamics in audience evaluations of…

Abstract

Since initial demonstrations that categories are consequential for evaluation, scholars of organizations and markets have attended to dynamics in audience evaluations of category spanning. We consider how heterogeneity in evaluator engagement in a market may alter their evaluation of atypical candidates. In markets where evaluators self-propagate theories of diversification, atypical candidates are advantaged because they present a distinct and efficient opportunity to diversify. We argue that evaluator market engagement will (positively) moderate valuations of atypicality, as such evaluators will be better positioned to recognize atypical candidates and their alignment with prevailing theories of value. We find support for our contentions with data from an online peer-to-peer lending market, Prosper.com. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that lender evaluation of these atypical borrowers is increasing in their market engagement: whereas lenders new to the market devalue atypical candidates, those who have made many evaluations evaluate atypicality positively.

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The Generation, Recognition and Legitimation of Novelty
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-998-0

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Book part
Publication date: 21 December 2010

Peter W. Roberts, Tal Simons and Anand Swaminathan

With growing interest in the penalties associated with straddling market categories, it is important to develop a stock of evidence about the relative importance of…

Abstract

With growing interest in the penalties associated with straddling market categories, it is important to develop a stock of evidence about the relative importance of consideration and valuation penalties in different empirical settings. In this chapter, we isolate the possible adverse implications for currently kosher Israeli wine producers that were established as non-kosher producers. Our analysis suggests that crossing the kosher categorical boundary exposes these producers to experience-based penalties that are reflected in lower product quality ratings. However, we find no evidence of additional penalties associated either with consideration (i.e., market access) or with the possession of a convoluted organizational identity.

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Categories in Markets: Origins and Evolution
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-594-6

Book part
Publication date: 21 December 2010

Giacomo Negro, Özgecan Koçak and Greta Hsu

The concept of a “category” and the social process of “categorization” occupy a crucial place in current theories of organizations. In this introductory chapter to…

Abstract

The concept of a “category” and the social process of “categorization” occupy a crucial place in current theories of organizations. In this introductory chapter to Research in the Sociology of Organization's volume on Categories in Markets: Origins and Evolution, we review published work in various streams of research and find that studies of organizational forms and identities, institutional logics, collective action frames, and product conceptual systems have key commonalities and predictable differences.

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Categories in Markets: Origins and Evolution
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-594-6

Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2020

Tyler Wry and Rodolphe Durand

Our editorial argues that categories theory can be advanced by embracing heuristics research, and the insight that audiences often evaluate items based on multiple valued…

Abstract

Our editorial argues that categories theory can be advanced by embracing heuristics research, and the insight that audiences often evaluate items based on multiple valued criteria. Thus, rather than building on extant theory – which suggests that categories embody specific evaluative criteria, or that audiences operate according to a set “theory of value” – the authors argue that hybrids research would benefit from attending to the underlying processes that actors use to weigh and balance the diverse considerations that guide their decisions. The authors define and discuss three commonly used heuristics (satisficing, lexicographic preferences, and elimination by aspects), and show how these might lead audiences to support different types of hybrid entities.

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Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-355-5

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