The Matthew Effect as an Unjust Competitive Advantage: Implications for Competition Near Status Boundaries

Forthcoming in Journal of Management Inquiry

INSEAD Working Paper No. 2017/68/EFE

6 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017 Last revised: 12 Oct 2017

See all articles by Henning Piezunka

Henning Piezunka

INSEAD

Wonjae Lee

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Richard Haynes

Government of the United States of America - Department of the Treasury

Matthew Bothner

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Date Written: October 12, 2017

Abstract

Merton often envisioned status growth as a process of stepping across a boundary between one status grade and another, more elite status grade. Such boundaries include the border between graduate school and a top academic department that young researchers try to traverse, or the frontier between scientists outside the French Academy and scientists inside the French Academy. Since it is now common to measure status continuously using network data, the behavioral ramifications of status boundaries have been understudied in recent research. In this essay, we focus on competitive behaviors that emerge near a status boundary because of the desirability — as well as the “double injustice” — of the Matthew Effect. Offering insights for future research, we discuss how these competitive behaviors are likely to delay, or even derail, status growth for those who are near a status boundary.

Keywords: Competition, Status, Tournament, Matthew Effect

Suggested Citation

Piezunka, Henning and Lee, Wonjae and Haynes, Richard and Bothner, Matthew, The Matthew Effect as an Unjust Competitive Advantage: Implications for Competition Near Status Boundaries (October 12, 2017). Forthcoming in Journal of Management Inquiry; INSEAD Working Paper No. 2017/68/EFE. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3044856

Henning Piezunka (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Wonjae Lee

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Richard Haynes

Government of the United States of America - Department of the Treasury ( email )

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
United States

Matthew Bothner

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

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