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The Limits of Media Effects: Field Positions and Cultural Change in a Mutual Fund Market


  • Stefan Jonsson

    () (Department of Business Administration, Uppsala University, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)

  • Helena Buhr

    () (Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)


Our paper examines how field structures moderate the effect of the business press on organizational outcomes. Prior research suggests that the business press shapes organizational outcomes, but the question of how these effects depend on organizations' positions in a field has attracted limited attention. We address this theoretical limitation in an analysis of how mutual funds in Sweden were affected by periods when the business press increased its negative coverage of mutual fund fees. First, we expect that negative coverage influences the way customers evaluate mutual funds. Second, banks have long occupied a dominant position in this market, and we thus expect banks to be less affected by the negative coverage of fees than other mutual fund managers. We find support for our argument in a longitudinal quantitative analysis of financial net flows into mutual funds. The findings indicate the value of contextualizing media effects and considering how field positions moderate the effects of cultural processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Jonsson & Helena Buhr, 2011. "The Limits of Media Effects: Field Positions and Cultural Change in a Mutual Fund Market," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 464-481, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:464-481
    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0553

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Antoaneta P. Petkova & Violina P. Rindova & Anil K. Gupta, 2013. "No News Is Bad News: Sensegiving Activities, Media Attention, and Venture Capital Funding of New Technology Organizations," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 865-888, June.
    2. Klaus Weber & M. Tina Dacin, 2011. "The Cultural Construction of Organizational Life: Introduction to the Special Issue," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 287-298, April.
    3. Luis Diestre & Juan Santaló, 2020. "Why Do Firms Suffer Differently from Input Stigmatization? The Costs of Removing Stigmatized Inputs," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(1), pages 47-66, January.


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