The Importance of Status in Markets: A Market Identity Perspective
STATUS IN MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONS, pp. 87-117, J. L. Pearce, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2011
31 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2011 Last revised: 12 Aug 2012
Date Written: January 28, 2011
In this chapter, we have developed a new status-identity framework by integrating work on status as positions in social systems and market identity as memberships in social categories. According to this framework, status refers generically to a position in a social system or intersection of horizontally and vertically arrayed social categories and market identity refers to the schema that codifies the minimal expectations of that particular intersection. We used the status-identity framework to systematically review status research in markets and, more importantly, identify promising areas for future research. Most research focuses on the advantages and to a lesser extent the disadvantages of occupying a particular vertical position and emphasizes how they affect quality perceptions and production, organizational agency, and legitimacy. Some research focuses on vertical and horizontal mobility in the market space, most of which emphasizes the difficulties of moving to higher vertical positions or how a vertical position produces the opportunity for horizontal mobility by leveraging status from one horizontal category to another. The least researched area focuses on the creation and destruction of the horizontal and vertical categories themselves, in particular, as this area of research relates to the actual creation of categories rather than the density-dependent legitimization of nascent categories. Finally, we identified specific new research opportunities in all the three main research areas identified by our status-identity framework, including the consequences of occupying multiple positions in the market space, the extent to which the fuzziness of category boundaries affect organizational mobility, and how new vertical positions emerge.
Keywords: status, identity, reputation, categories, mobility
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