ASQ in the News: Media Mentions

asqp.jpgAdministrative Science Quarterly, owned and managed by the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, has been at the cutting edge of organizational studies since the field began. This top-tier journal regularly publishes the best theoretical and empirical papers based on dissertations and on the evolving and new work of more established scholars, as well as interdisciplinary work in organizational theory, and informative book reviews.

To highlight ASQ‘s research, we’ve put together a Media Mentions page, where you can view the various articles from international news outlets that have referenced articles published in Administrative Science Quarterly.

For example,  The Huffington Post featured W. Chad Carlos and Ben W. Lewis’s recentlimage6.jpgy published article, “Strategic Silence: Withholding Certification Status as a Hypocrisy Avoidance Tactic.” Click here to view the article from The Huffington Post, entitled “Strategic silence: Why aren’t companies talking about their environmental accomplishments?”

View the entire Media Mentions page here, and don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the journal homepage so you never miss the latest research!


On SAGE Insight: How Does the Media Frame Corporate Scandals?

[The following post is re-blogged from SAGE Insight. Please click here to view the original post. ]

Article title: How Does the Media Frame Corporate Scandals? The Case of German Newspapers and the Volkswagen Diesel Scandal

From Journal of Management Inquiry
Despite the importance that the media has in regard to influencing people’s perceptions of wrongdoing, organizational scholars have paid little attention to how the media reports wrongdoing. This article starts to address this gap by considering how the media frames corporate scandals. To study the connection between media framing and organizational wrongdoing, authors turn to political and mass communication research. They empirically examine how four different German newspapers reported on the Volkswagen diesel scandal.  This article testifies to the importance of cross-fertilization between research on mass communication and political science on one side, and organizational research on the other side and, more generally, it calls for more attention to be given to the media in the study of scandals and organizational wrongdoing.


Despite the importance that the media has in regard to influencing people’s perceptions of wrongdoing, organizational scholars have paid little attention to how the media reports wrongdoing. This article starts to address this gap by considering how the media frames corporate scandals. We empirically examine how four different German newspapers reported on the Volkswagen diesel scandal. We inductively identify the constitutive elements of a general corporate scandal frame. Then, we analyze how each newspaper framed the scandal through combinations of different elements. We identify from our dataset four frames of corporate scandals that newspapers applied: legalistic, contextual, reputational, and scapegoating. Our article testifies to the importance of cross-fertilization between research on mass communication and political science on one side, and organizational research on the other side and, more generally, it calls for more attention to be given to the media in the study of scandals and organizational wrongdoing.

Read the article for free

Article details
How Does the Media Frame Corporate Scandals? The Case of German Newspapers and the Volkswagen Diesel Scandal
Marco Clemente, Claudia Gabbioneta
First Published February 1, 2017
Journal of Management Inquiry
DOI: 10.1177/1056492616689304

Measuring Organizational Legitimacy in Social Media

[We’re pleased to welcome author Michael Etter of the City University of London, UK. Etter recently published an article in Business & Society entitled “Measuring Organizational Legitimacy in Social Media: Assessing Citizens’ Judgments With Sentiment Analysis,” co-authored by Elanor Colleoni, Laura Illia, Katia Meggiorin, and Antonino D’Eugenio. From Etter:]

8583949219_f55657573e_z.jpgSocial media have given ordinary citizens the opportunity to freely express their opinions and feelings in any tone or style. The heated discussions around various topics from politics, sports, and corporations often evolve in parallel to news media coverage. Accordingly, we have developed the idea that a measurement of citizens’ judgment in social media can give researchers a new way to assess the legitimacy of organizations. Compared to existing measurements that, for example, assess judgments in news media coverage, a measurement based on social media would directly access the voices of ordinary citizens and therefore account for their heterogeneous norms and expectations.

In this article we describe and test how a measurement based on social media data can give indication for organizational legitimacy. We use the method of sentiment analysis that is based on computational linguistics and apply it to a case from the banking industry over a one year period.

Our findings show that, indeed, an analysis of 14’000 tweets reveals a different judgment than the analysis of 730 news articles. Compared to the news media, citizens judge the bank in a much more negative way. Also we find that the bank is discussed by 6000 citizens and for a broad variety of topics (around 400 hashtags). Clearly, social media data gives researchers access to different judgments than found in news media, which are written by a few journalists that adhere to professional norms and standards and are subject to various selection processes. We therefore encourage researchers to take into account social media, such as Twitter, in order to achieve a richer understanding of legitimation processes in a digital world. For practitioners, sentiment analysis of twitter data is a tool to monitor and identify issues and sentiment in a timely manner.

Cell phone photo attributed to Jason Howie (CC).

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War, Exploration, and Interference: The Rise of Amateur Broadcasters

[The following post is re-blogged from Organizational Musings. Click here to view the original article. It is a commentary based on a recently published article in Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “Labor of Love: Amateurs and Lay-expertise Legitimation in the Early U.S. Radio Field,” co-authored by Grégoire Croidieu and Phillip H. Kim.  From Henrich Greve via Organizational Musings:] 


In daily life we know that professionals rule the roost. Anything remotely important is done by a profession with restricted access to practice and many rules for practitioners — or it is done illegitimately. Did you undergo medical treatment last time you were ill, or did you see a homeopath? Many activities that seem easier and safer also take on profession-like features. Espresso making is done by a high-pressure machine, but there is still a barista profession with formal training and certification. Researchers also have been interested in professions, especially because their effects range from regulating the safety and quality of important service (again, think doctors) to restricting access to work in a way that looks like a power grab (pick your favorite example).

So is there room for non-professionals to get things done? Gregoire Croidieu and Phillip Kim answer that question in a recent article in Administrative Science Quarterly, looking at the key role of amateurs in the development of radio broadcasting in the US. They show that amateurs can get a significant role if the right conditions are in place, even as professionals, companies, and the state seek to push them to the margins. How? Well, that’s where the war, polar exploration, and interference come in.

Let’s start with interference. Technically that is what happens when radio transmitters are near each other in signal spectrum and physical space, and distort each other’s transmissions. It was a major reason that many sought to limit access to the airwaves of amateurs, especially those building their own transmitters and behaving independently from the profession. Socially the limitation of access was also a form of interference – trying to make it hard to be an amateur. But radio amateurs were enthusiastically building up their lay expertise and using it, legally or not. Except for the WWI years, they could be given access as registered radio operators.

That brings us to the war. WWI was when radio amateurs were blocked from the airwaves, with security given as the reason, but it did not mean that they stopped broadcasting. They signed up for military service instead, and fully half of the military radio operators were originally amateurs. This was when the state recognized the value of the lay experts, and took advantage of their skills. After the war, they were supposed to return to their old status as marginal actors, more than before (rising to 20,000 in 1922), but still regulated and limited. Professional radio operators still campaigned against amateurs, seeing them as having little value.

This is where the polar explorations come into play. The amateurs were many, highly skilled, and willing to experiment, and they soon registered a series of technical accomplishments – including shortwave communications with the North Pole, which had been thought impossible. The amateurs, through their lay expertise, became leaders in radio. This role soon turned into the start of radio as an industry and as lay culture, because the establishment of radio stations for communicating to many – instead of point-to-point – happened in parallel. Radio ownership and interest in radio listening rose also, and the radio broadcasting industry eventually grew to as many radio stations as there were licensed radio operators in 1921.

War, exploration, and interference were three of the elements that brought amateurs to the forefront of radio, against the resistance of professionals, companies, and the state. Clearly it was not an easy process, and it took a lot of interest to gather the necessary momentum. Does this show that amateurs have a clear role in society, or that they can overcome the odds under special circumstances? We clearly need to learn more about this so we can understand when activities become professionalized, and when they are open to amateurs.

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How Superstitions May Impact Risky Behavior

Superstitions, particularly in Eastern cultures, often inform decisions, from the mundane to the life-changing. Existing research links a superstitious mindset to 544623640_258eaf528a_ba higher likelihood of engaging in riskier behaviors, such as gambling. A new Social Marketing Quarterly article seeks to explore different styles of superstition and the way in which these styles may impact a tendency towards risk. In their paper “Exploring Different Types of Superstitious Beliefs in Risk-Taking Behaviors: What We Can Learn From Thai Consumers,” authors Sydney Chinchanachokchai, Theeranuch Pusaksrikit, and Siwarit Pongsakornrungsilp examine differences between passive and proactive superstitious consumers. Passive superstition involves a strong belief in fate or destiny; these individuals feel that their luck is beyond their control. Proactive superstitious individuals, however, may practice certain rituals for to attract good luck or ward off evil forces. The researchers summarize:

The impact of superstitious beliefs on decision making and how they affect both business and consumers has been observed for several decades. Chinese consumers are willing to pay premium for something that contains number “8” and Thai consumers will do the same for number “9”. Those numbers are considered good luck and prosperity in the cultures. There are times that consumers make irrational decisions based on superstitious beliefs. Our paper explores different types of superstitious beliefs and how they affect risk-taking behaviors. We chose Thailand as a context because Thai consumers are known for their superstitions. We found that people who are “passive superstitious” (meaning that they believe in fate and generally do not take any superstitious action to control the situation) make riskier decisions when they received superstitious objects (e.g., lucky charms). These people do not usually go out and seek superstitious objects or practice superstitious rituals. As online gambling, online financial investments, and other risk-taking activities become more accessible to consumers, knowing that individuals may be either proactive or passive superstitious, the marketing campaigns for these types of products should be carefully monitored and regulated as some promotional tactics may trigger risky decisions.

So while passive superstitious consumers may be highly influenced by magical objects, proactive superstitious consumers are less likely to modify their behavior based on such an object.

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*Image attributed to Tiago Daniel. (CC)

How is the Media Hindering Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights?

17202516813_12c72fab2a_z (1)The news media has the potential to play a critical role in improving gender equality and women’s human rights. However, the patriarchal nature of the media hinders such improvements. Media sexism and male-dominated power structures are continually shifting and finding new forms of representation and practice. The perpetuation of this system is materialized by different institutions—government, parties, schools and media—and through different mechanisms—laws and policies, curriculum and cultural products. Patriarchy in the media perpetuates traditional gender roles for both women and men. By associating women with the domestic sphere and men with the public, women are stereotyped as being less capable of working in the public sphere, including fields like politics, media, and education. The media could help empower women socially, politically and economically by reducing poverty, illiteracy, gender-based violence and social segregation. Instead, media content reproduces sexist stereotypes that discriminate against women.AME Cover

The issue is complex and involves gender representation in news content, participation of women as reporters and gender policies for news practices. An article entitled “News Media Coverage of Women” from the Asia Pacific Media Educator looks at this issue and offers some proposals to make the media a tool for improving gender equality and women’s human rights.

The most relevant initiative to take on this issue has come from the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG). Launched in 2013 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), GAMAG is a multi-stakeholder group that includes more than 500 organizations representing scholars, journalists and activists. The main goal of GAMAG is to combine efforts and resources to achieve gender equality in media systems, structures, and content, as well as to promote citizens’ media dialogue to ensure women’s freedom of expression, empowerment and full participation in society. GAMAG has the potential to produce change in the news media at different levels, including at the structural, content, and policy levels, but such change will take time.

The abstract:

News media organizations have the power to reinforce gender inequality through the dissemination of gender stereotypes. The issue is multidimensional and involves gender representation in news content, participation of women as reporters and gender policies for news practices. This article looks at this issue before, drawing on the work of Grizzle, offering some proposals to make news a tool for improving gender equality and women’s human rights.

You can read “News Media Coverage of Women” from Asia Pacific Media Educator free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Asia Pacific Media EducatorClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Photo credited to Knight Foundation (CC)

Kim and Jensen (2011). How Product Order Affects Market Identity Repertoire Ordering in the US Opera Market

Republished with permission. The original post was published on the ASQ Blog.

Bo Kyung Kim – Southern Methodist University
Michael Jensen – University of Michigan

Simone Napolitano – University of Bologna
Paula Ungureanu – University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Article link: http://

Question 1. A central tenet of this interesting study is the conceptual distinction between organizational and market identity: the latter constitutes the cognitive interface between organizations and external audiences and the former the central and most enduring features that constitute identity for internal audiences. How much do you think this difference between enduring parts and more flexible parts is important for the specific type of product offerings that you look at, i.e. opera repertoires?

[Michael] We distinguish between organizational and market identity to make it clear that we focus on external audiences (season ticket holders and opera critics) and how external audiences categorize opera companies. We were less interested in internal audiences (singers, musicians, administrators) and what internal audiences view as the enduring features of their opera companies and we are certainly not saying that organizational identity is not important, it is just not the focus of our study. That being said, I think that some features of opera are more enduring than other features, but I am not sure that there are features that are impossible to change. Many people would argue that un-amplified voice is a defining feature of opera, for example, and some people might even say that opera would not be opera with amplified voice. I don’t think so. Opera is already being simulcast in movie theaters and I do not think that most external audiences would stop categorizing opera as opera if voices were amplified. It is probably more constructive to think of more or less prototypical opera, and then begin to examine what features are more or less constraining for opera companies trying to increase their appeal to external audiences. And this question of constraining features and external appeal is, of course, perfectly generalizable to other contexts.

[Bo Kyung] I am with Michael that the focus of our paper is market identity, not organizational identity. Furthermore, what is interesting about our findings is that no matter what organizations think about themselves (or at least while controlling for this factor), they can attempt to change their appeal by changing the order of its product offerings. We did not specifically theorize or test about the differences between organizational and market identities, but my thought is that having certain offerings (such as staging modern opera) may have an impact on the identity of internal audiences (i.e. the central and enduring features of the organization), whereas changing the order of product offerings can have effects on how external audiences perceive opera repertoires and accordingly how they categorize these opera companies (cognitive interface between organizations and external audiences).

Question 2. Still in relation to market identity, in this study, as well as in other ones (Jensen, 2010; Jensen, Kim & Kim, 2011, Jensen & Kim, 2014) you define market identity as an interface between how an organization is perceived in the market based on membership in a set of relevant social categories and the organization’s efforts to influence such perceptions, based also on how the organization self-categorizes. How much do you think this interface is subject to negotiation in the U.S. opera industry and in other industries? How can we best capture the interplay between category assignment and self-categorization and what might future studies look at into greater detail?

[Michael] Building on my answer to the first question, I think the interface between organizations and their audiences are almost always subject to negotiations. Indeed, you can think about it analytically as a three-party negotiation: internal audiences – organization – external audiences. This is probably one of the oldest insights in organization theory, just think Cyert and March, Thompson, Pfeffer and Salancik, and so on. I guess what we are showing is that opera companies can at least influence if not control category assignment by manipulating the order in which they play conventional and unconventional operas. In a companion piece published in Organization Science in 2014, we looked more carefully at how external audiences help explain the composition (the mixing of conventional and unconventional operas) of opera repertoires. We have not, however, examined the interplay between category assignment by external audiences and self-categorization by internal audiences, but I am sure it would be very interesting to study the entire negotiation.

[Bo Kyung] I totally agree with Michael that negotiations (always) happen within this interface. Our paper shows one way how companies can negotiate better with external audiences by changing the order of product offerings. However, it is also possible to imagine other contextual conditions when self-categorization has positive or negative effects on external audiences’ category assignment. Or it would also be interesting to know more about whether the disagreement over external audiences’ category assignment and self-categorization may have negative or positive impacts on firm performance (and organizational identity). All things considered, I agree that there is more research to do in this context and within this theoretical framework.

Question 3. In a related way, you have focused on the U.S. opera market, which is known to have some characteristics that are different from the European market (i.e., heavier reliance on the market for funding, higher predilection for cross-overs and new products). Do you think a cross cultural study could highlight new aspects of market identity in the opera market in general, and of ordered market identity, in particular? Which do you think would be the challenges of such studies?

[Michael] Interesting question! I think the general idea that the order in which an organization presents a portfolio of products affects the market identity of the organization is generalizable to other cultural contexts. The importance of different types of external audiences is, however, likely to differ considerably from country to country, which could make it more or less important to appeal to different types of external audiences. Cross-cultural studies are fascinating! It is necessary, however, to make sure that cross-cultural differences are clearly identified (and everything else kept constant) to make strong inferences about what explains outcome differences. The international standardization of the opera repertoire certainly makes it easier to focus on institutional and cross-cultural differences in the way opera companies operate and opera performances are delivered to external audiences.

[Bo Kyung] DITTO! Our ordering argument will be applicable to different institutional contexts, but what different groups of external audiences may want and whether their tastes are convergent or divergent depend on contexts (Please refer to our OS (2014) for more information). It will be an interesting empirical question of how ordering effects may be moderated by contextual factors and how cross-cultural studies may help us better understand the scope conditions.

Question 4. You look at the ordering of operas in a repertoire along a temporal dimension where the central unit is the season: what would be the main methodological challenge for scholars wanting to study portfolio ordering effects in contexts where the difference between conventionality and unconventionality is at work but in a shorter time lag, such as film festivals or fashion weeks that last one or two weeks?

[Bo Kyung] For some opera companies, such as the Santa Fe Opera, their seasons have shorter time lag, such as a couple of weeks or a month (about 10 percent of companies in our sample). When testing our hypotheses, we controlled for these summer opera companies. The results show that summer opera company audiences are indeed less interested in purchasing season ticket sales (see Table 4). Summer opera companies are also receiving more critical attention (see Table 5), indicating that critics may prefer to cover companies within a shorter time lag (They don’t need to visit the same opera house several times during a year). However, our independent variable was statistically significant even when we included this summer opera dummy variable. The ordering of product offerings still matters in contexts with a shorter time lag. I agree that it would be interesting to examine any potential interaction effect between summer opera company and market identity order variables.

[Michael] Again, I think the general idea that the order in which an organization presents a portfolio of products affects the market identity of the organization is generalizable. A potential problem with studying film festivals and fashion weeks is that (as I understand film festivals and fashion weeks) no external audiences are expected to attend all the events because multiple events are scheduled at the same time. But I would not be surprised if the order in which the films that compete for festival awards are being screened affect the perception of the individual films and the quality of the overall program. It would be an interesting empirical question!

Question 5. The two hypotheses that you verify in the study tackle two different conceptualizations of appeal, that is appeal to season-ticket holders and appeal to opera critics; has this been seen as an issue by reviewers during the process? More generally, an interesting aspect of your study is the role played by critics in stretching the tension between artistic and commercial demands: is there any advice in terms of readings that you would give to PhD students willing to analyze this role in more depth?

[Michael] The reviewers did not bring up the distinction between season-ticket holders and opera critics. It was always part of our study. The reviewers did, however, ask us to repeat the analysis of critical coverage at the opera company level (model 6 in table 5), a request that we found reasonable. As to the question about readings about the role of critics, I am not sure that I can point to a particular source. Lots of interesting work has been published in sociology and management journals, but it is also important to check more specialized journals such as Journal of Cultural Economics and journals dedicated to the opera and the arts more broadly. I always love this part of the research process: read broadly, find stuff you didn’t even know existed, and become a better scholar! I wish we would spend more time on that rather than fighting with reviewers 😉

[Bo Kyung] I thought our conceptualization of the two different types of appeal, that is, appeal to season-ticket holders and appeal to opera critics, was indeed the appeal of our paper (what makes our paper interesting). In many cases, organizations may face several external audiences, in extreme cases oppositional external audiences like in our study, indicating that they need to take all of these groups into account. Also, I have been very interested in the role of critics in the art industry. There are many interesting papers about critics, both in sociology and psychology. I will name just a few of them below, but I am more than happy to discuss the topic further with anyone who is interested in!

Further readings
Alba, J. W. & Hutchinson, J. W. 1987. Dimensions of Consumer Expertise. Journal of Consumer Research, 13(4): 411.
Chi, M. T. H., Feltovich, P. J., & Glaser, R. 1981. Categorization and representation of physics problems by experts and novices. Cognitive Science, 5(2): 121-152.
Hsu, G. 2006. Evaluative schemas and the attention of critics in the US film industry. Industrial and Corporate Change, 15(3): 467-496.
Jensen, M. 2010. Legitimizing illegitimacy: How creating market identity legitimizes illegitimate products. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 31, 39-80.
Jensen, M., Kim, B. K., & Kim, H. 2011. The importance of status in markets: A market identity perspective. Status in management and organizations, 87-117.
Jensen, M., & Kim, B. K. 2014. Great, Madama Butterfly again! how robust market identity shapes opera repertoires. Organization Science, 25(1), 109-126.
Shrum, W. M. 1996. Fringe and fortune: The role of critics in high and popular art. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Tanaka, J. W. & Taylor, M. 1991. Object categories and expertise: Is the basic level in the eye of the beholder? Cognitive Psychology, 23(3): 457-482.