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Category Stretching: Reorienting Research on Categories in Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Organization Theory

Author

Listed:
  • Rodolphe Durand

    () (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Lionel Paolella

    (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We advocate for more tolerance in the manner we collectively address categories and categorization in our research. Drawing on the prototype view, organizational scholars have provided a ‘disciplining' framework to explain how category membership shapes, impacts and limits organizational success. By stretching the existing straightjacket of scholarship on categories, we point to other useful conceptualizations of categories – i.e. the causal model and the goal-based approaches of categorization – and propose that depending on situational circumstances, and beyond a disciplining exercise, categories involve a cognitive test of congruence and a goal satisfying calculus. Unsettling the current consensus about categorical imperatives and market discipline, we suggest also that markets may tolerate more often than thought organizations that blend, span, and stretch categories. We derive implications for research about multi-category membership and mediation in markets, and suggest ways in which work on the theme of categories in the strategy, entrepreneurship, and managerial cognition literatures can be enriched.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodolphe Durand & Lionel Paolella, 2012. "Category Stretching: Reorienting Research on Categories in Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Organization Theory," Working Papers hal-02011439, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-02011439
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-hec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02011439
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    Cited by:

    1. Schiller-Merkens, Simone, 2013. "Framing moral markets: The cultural legacy of social movements in an emerging market category," MPIfG Discussion Paper 13/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

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