Multiple category memberships in markets: an integrative theory and two empirical tests
Hsu, Greta and Hannan, Michael T. and Koçak, Özgecan (2008) Multiple category memberships in markets: an integrative theory and two empirical tests. (Accepted/In Press)
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Two perspectives explain why producers who span categories suﬀer social and/or economic disadvantage. According to the audience-side perspective, audience members refer to established categories to make sense of producers; they perceive producers who incorporate features from multiple categories to be poor ﬁts with category expectations and less appealing relative to category specialists. The producer-side view holds that spanning categories reduces the ability to target eﬀectively each category’s audience, which decreases appeal to audience members. Rather than treating these as rival explanations, we propose that both types of processes contribute to the penalties seen for category spanning. We integrate these two perspectives by developing a systematic account of how penalties arise as a consequence of audience-side and producer-side processes. Analysis of data on the consequences of spanning categories in two dissimilar contexts, eBay auctions and U.S. feature-ﬁlm projects, provides support for the theory.
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