Hybrid Vigor: Securing Venture Capital by Spanning Categories in Nanotechnology

Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming

54 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2014 Last revised: 30 Apr 2014

See all articles by Tyler Wry

Tyler Wry

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Management Department

Michael Lounsbury

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

P. Devereaux Jennings

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Date Written: April 23, 2013

Abstract

This study develops and tests a set of novel theoretical predictions about the conditions under which category spanning is rewarded by external audiences. To do this, we revisit the assumption that comprehensible organizational identities are associated with individual categories. Drawing on insights from cognitive psychology, we suggest that category spanning does not necessarily lead to confusion, but rather to interpretations that rely on a 'header-modifier' structure where one category anchors cognition but is modified by features of the other. Audiences may have clear understandings about how categories fit together and cognate schema for evaluating firms that hybridize by spanning between them. An empirical examination of venture capital in the carbon nanotechnology industry supports our approach: startups were rewarded or punished for hybridization contingent on how they mixed 'science' and 'technology' in their patents, top management team, and collaborations. As such, we show that the category a firm starts in, how it hybridizes, and the degree to which this affects core versus peripheral identity markers may all affect how it is perceived.

Keywords: categories, hybridization, venture capital

Suggested Citation

Wry, Tyler and Lounsbury, Michael and Jennings, P. Devereaux, Hybrid Vigor: Securing Venture Capital by Spanning Categories in Nanotechnology (April 23, 2013). Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2428451

Tyler Wry (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Michael Lounsbury

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

P. Devereaux Jennings

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
72
Abstract Views
732
rank
324,320
PlumX Metrics