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Out of the Frying Pan and into the Mixing Bowl: Category Grading and the Adoption of Novel Practices

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  • Cebon, Peter

    (U of Melbourne)

  • Love, E. Geoffrey

    (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

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    Abstract

    Given that recent research has found that the meanings managers attribute to novel practices are crucial to understanding their adoption, we ask how institutional processes shape the way managers understand novel practices, and how that understanding affects adoption behaviour. In particular, we focus on how managers choose between component practices within a management practice (i.e. between members within a category). We argue, consistent with research in linguistics and anthropology, that categories are graded--that some members represent the category better than others. We go further to argue that the grading affects the value that participants attribute to category members. We build a model of the way processes of theorization and inter-organisational monitoring will grade categories in a field, and argue that, at any point in time, later adopters are more likely to have adopted central members of the category than earlier adopters. We test the resultant propositions by examining the adoption of Manufacturing Best Practice programs in Australia and New Zealand. Our data support our arguments regarding theorization, but not inter-organisational monitoring.

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    File URL: http://www.business.illinois.edu/Working_Papers/papers/06-0106.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business in its series Working Papers with number 06-0106.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:illbus:06-0106

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    Web page: http://www.business.uiuc.edu/Working_Papers/Main.asp
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    1. Samson, Danny & Ford, Steve, 2000. "Manufacturing practices and performance: Comparisons between Australia and New Zealand," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 243-255, May.
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