Forging Consensus: An Integrated View of How Categories Shape the Perception of Organizational Identity
Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 51, 327-353
28 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2016 Last revised: 29 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2017
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.
Keywords: category, evaluation, identity, law firms
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