Read the September Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly!

asqa_63_3_coverWe are pleased to announce that the September Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available to read for a limited time.

Check out the editorial which discusses the ASQ Scholarly Award for Scholarly Contribution which was awarded to  Adam M. Kleinbaum for his article, “Organizational Misfits and the Origins of Brokerage in Intrafirm Networks.”

In the research article, “The Structural Origins of Unearned Status: How Arbitrary Changes in Categories Affect Status Position and Market Impact,” included in this issue, the relationship among status, actors’ quality, and market outcomes are discussed. You can find the abstract below.

customer-experience-3024488__340.jpgFocusing on the categorical nature of many status orderings, we examine the relationship among status, actors’ quality, and market outcomes. As markets evolve, the number of categories that structure them can increase, creating opportunities for new actors to be bestowed status, or it can decrease, dethroning certain actors from their superior standing. In both cases, gains and losses of status may occur without changes in actors’ quality. Because audiences rely on status signals to infer the value of market actors, these exogenously generated status shifts can translate into changes in how audiences perceive actors, resulting in benefits for unearned status gains and costs for unearned status losses. We find support for our hypotheses in a sample of equity analysts at U.S. brokerage firms. Using data on the coveted Institutional Investor magazine All-Star award, we find that analysts whose status increases because of a category addition see corresponding increases in the stock market’s response to their earnings estimates, while those who lose status see corresponding reductions. Our results suggest that the greater weight accorded to high-status actors may be misguided if that status occurs for structural reasons such as category changes rather than because of an actor’s own quality.

This intriguing study, “Anchored Personalization in Managing Goal Conflict between Professional Groups: The Case of U.S. Army Mental Health Care” delves into conflict between groups that pursue different goals. You can find the abstract below:

Mental-health-2313426_640Organizational life is rife with conflict between groups that pursue different goals, particularly when groups have strong commitments to professional identities developed outside the organization. I use data from a 30-month comparative ethnographic field study of four U.S. Army combat brigades to examine conflict between commanders who had a goal of fielding a mission-ready force and mental health providers who had a goal of providing rehabilitative mental health care to soldiers. All commanders and providers faced goal and identity conflict and had access to similar integrative mechanisms. Yet only those associated with two brigades addressed these conflicts in ways that accomplished the army’s superordinate goal of having both mission-ready and mentally healthy soldiers. Both successful brigades used what I call “anchored personalization” practices, which included developing personalized relations across groups, anchoring members in their home group identity, and co-constructing integrative solutions to conflict. These practices were supported by an organizational structure in which professionals were assigned to work with specific members of the other group, while remaining embedded within their home group. In contrast, an organizational structure promoting only anchoring in one’s home group identity led to failure when each group pursued its own goals at the expense of the other group’s goals. A structure promoting only personalization across groups without anchoring in one’s home group identity led to failure from cooptation by the dominant group. This study contributes to our understanding of how groups with strong professional identities can work together in service of their organization’s superordinate goals when traditional mechanisms fail.

To listen to the latest ASQ podcast click here.

Ranking photo attributed to Free Photos.

Mental Health photo attributed to Free Photos.

The Use of Language and Group Processes


[Dr. Lyn M. Van Swol of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Dr. Aimée A. Kane of Duquesne University recently published an article in Small Group Research, which is entitled “Language and Group Processes: An Integrative, Interdisciplinary Review.” We are pleased to welcome them as contributors and excited to announce that the findings will be free to access on our site for a limited time. Below Dr. Van Swol writes about the inspiration behind the research, as well as additional information not included in the final publication.

10SGR11_Covers.inddThis paper reviews research examining the use of language in small interacting groups and teams. We propose a model of group inputs, like status; processes and emergent states, like cohesion, influence, and innovation; and outputs, like performance and member well-being to help structure our review. We integrate this model with how language is used by groups to both reflect group inputs but also to examine how language interacts with inputs to affect group processes and create emergent states in groups, and then ultimately helps add value to the group with outputs like performance. Using cross-disciplinary research, our review finds that language is integral to how groups coordinate, interrelate, and adapt. For example, language convergence is related to increased group cohesion and group performance. Research on language in groups has been increasing, but the research is often scattered in different disciplines. This review provides theoretical scaffolding to consider language use and attempts to pull together consistent research findings to date.

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Group Communication Photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)

Grappa: A Radical Success Story

3351710029_88bd725653_zThere was a time not too long ago when grappa, the popular Italian grape-based brandy, was considered a poor man’s drink. During the 1970s, grappa’s status was a sharp contrast to comparable foreign spirits, like cognac and whisky, both of which were considered higher quality alcohols. And yet, toward the end of the 1970s, perceptions of grappa shifted radically–grappa became not only a popular, more expensive spirit, but also one that was considered on par with cognac and whisky. This radical shift begs the question, how did grappa shed its bad reputation? In the recent article from Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change,” authors Giuseppe Delmestri and Royston Greenwood explain that the grappa itself never changed. Rather, grappa producers took steps to break grappa from its prior image. The abstract for the paper:

Using a case study of the Italian spirit grappa, we examine status recategorization—the vertical extension and reclassification of an entire market category. Grappa was historically a low-status product, but in the 1970s one regional distiller took steps that led to a radical break from its traditional image, so that in just over a decade high-quality grappa became an exemplar of cultured Italian lifestyle and held a market position in the same class as cognac and whisky. We use this context to articulate “theorization by allusion,” which occurs through three mechanisms: category detachment—distancing a social object from its existing category; category emulation—presenting that object so that it hints at the practices of a high-status category; and category sublimation—shifting from local, field-specific references to broader, societal-level frames. This novel theorization is particularly appropriate for explaining change from low to high status because it ASQ Coveravoids resistance to and contestation of such change (by customers, media, and other sources) as a result of status imperatives, which may be especially strong in mature fields. Unlike prior studies that have examined the status of organizations within a category, ours foregrounds shifts in the status and social meaning of a market category itself.

You can read “How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Grappa bottles image credited to star5112 (CC)

Star Performers: Three Types of Star Employees that Excel at Value Creation


Stellar classification has long been used in astronomy to differentiate stars and predict stellar evolution, but can a similar typology be applied to star employees? In their paper published in Journal of Management, “Let’s Call a Star a Star: Task Performance, External Status, and Exceptional Contributors in Organizations,” authors Rebecca R. Kehoe, David P. Lepak, and F. Scott Bentley suggest a new typology for star employees, based on employee task performance and status. The authors explain how separating performance and status in their typology allows for a better understanding of how employees create value in direct and indirect ways.

The abstract:

We develop a new typology of star employees, wherein we identify three types of stars—universal stars, performance stars, and status stars—on the basis of stars’ unique combinations of task performance and external status. By classifying stars in this way and disentangling task performance and external status as unique and simultaneously important qualities underlying the distinct contributions of different types of stars, we provide a basis for more accurately identifying the full range of individuals who create exceptional value, and we offer novel insights into stars’ JOM 41(3)_Covers.inddvarious influences in organizations. With this foundation, we explore how different types of stars’ distinct qualities and bases of value creation affect both the security of their star standing and their relative abilities to appropriate value. We then expand our focus to consider stars in the broader organizational contexts in which they exist, discussing the implications of stars’ distinct attributes for patterns of value creation, value capture, and value preservation associated with stars’ complementarities and redundancies with other organizational resources. Finally, we propose several lines of inquiry through which future research may leverage the proposed typology to address issues related to the management of different types of stars in the broader organizational contexts in which they are embedded.

You can read “Let’s Call a Star a Star: Task Performance, External Status, and Exceptional Contributors in Organizations” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Status Update: How Do Organizations Respond to a Dip in Status?

800px-CornellpictureStatus has the potential to return concrete benefits for organizations, but status is subject to change over time, which begs the question, what happens when the status of a business changes? In their paper, “Status-Aspirational Pricing: The ‘Chivas Regal’ Strategy in U.S. Higher Education, 2006-2012,” published in Administrative Science Quarterly, authors Noah Askin of INSEAD and Matthew S. Bothner of ESMT European School of Management and Technology look to private colleges and universities to understand how organizations respond to changes in status.

The abstract from their paper:

This paper examines the effect of status loss on organizations’ price-setting behavior. We predict, counter to current status theory and aligned with performance feedback theory, that a status decline prompts certain organizations to charge higher prices and that there are two kinds of organizations most prone to make such price increases: those with broad appeal across disconnected types of customers and those whose most strategically similar rivals have charged high prices previously. Using panel data from U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of private colleges and universities from 2005 to 2012, we model the effect of drops in rank ASQ Coverthat take a school below an aspiration level. We find that schools set tuition higher after a sharp decline in rank, particularly those that appeal widely to college applicants and whose rivals are relatively more expensive. This study presents a dynamic conception of status that differs from the prevailing view of status as a stable asset that yields concrete benefits. In contrast to past work that has assumed that organizations passively experience negative effects when their status falls, our results show that organizations actively respond to status loss. Status is a performance-related goal for such producers, who may increase prices as they work to recover lost ground after a status decline.

You can read “Status-Aspirational Pricing: The ‘Chivas Regal’ Strategy in U.S. Higher Education, 2006-2012” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

The September Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is Now Online!

The September issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available and can be read online for free for the next 30 days. This issue offers a range of astute articles on organizational studies as well as insightful book reviews.

The lead article entitled “Beyond Occupational Differences: The Importance of Cross-cutting Demographics and Dyadic Toolkits for Collaboration in a U.S. Hospital” was authored by Julia DiBenigno and Katherine C. Kellogg both of MIT Sloan School of Management. You can read the abstract here:

ASQ_v59n3_Sept2014_cover.inddWe use data from a 12-month ethnographic study of two medical-surgical units in a U.S. hospital to examine how members from different occupations can collaborate with one another in their daily work despite differences in status, shared meanings, and expertise across occupational groups, which previous work has shown to create difficulties. In our study, nurses and patient care technicians (PCTs) on both hospital units faced these same occupational differences, served the same patient population, worked under the same management and organizational structure, and had the same pressures, goals, and organizational collaboration tools available to them. But nurses and PCTs on one unit successfully collaborated while those on the other did not. We demonstrate that a social structure characterized by cross-cutting demographics between occupational groups—in which occupational membership is uncorrelated with demographic group membership—can loosen attachment to the occupational identity and status order. This allows members of cross-occupational dyads, in our case nurses and PCTs, to draw on other shared social identities, such as shared race, age, or immigration status, in their interactions. Drawing on a shared social identity at the dyad level provided members with a “dyadic toolkit” of alternative, non-occupational expertise, shared meanings, status rules, and emotional scripts that facilitated collaboration across occupational differences and improved patient care.

Click here to access the Table of Contents of the September issue of Administrative Science Quarterly. Want to know about all the latest from Administrative Science Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Entrepreneurial Evolution and the Magazine Industry

new-magazines-1110330-mHappy 4th of July! To celebrate this relaxing, barbeque and family-fun filled holiday, we’re happy to provide you with a unique look into the history of the American magazine. In their article from Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741-1860,” authors Heather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek and Leo A. Goodman explore this business to find out if new entrepreneurs find it harder to compete with existing industry insiders or if a well-established market gives new endeavors a leg up.

The abstract:

We craft a historically sensitive model of entrepreneurship linking individual actors to the evolving social structures they must navigate to acquire resources and launch new ventures. Theories of entrepreneurship and industry evolution suggest two opposing hypotheses: as an industry develops, launching a new venture may become more difficult for all but industry insiders and the socially prominent because of competition fromASQ_v59n2_Jun2014_cover.indd large incumbents, or it may become easier for all people because the legitimacy accorded to the industry simplifies the entrepreneurial task. To test these two conflicting claims, we study the American magazine industry from 1741 to 1860. We find that magazine publishing was originally restricted to publishing-industry insiders, professionals, and the highly educated, but most later founders came from outside publishing and more were of middling stature. Gains by entrepreneurs from the social periphery, however, were uneven: most were doctors and clergy without college degrees in small urban areas; magazines founded by industry insiders remained predominant in the industry centers. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of grounding studies of entrepreneurship in historical context. It also shows that entrepreneurship scholars must attend to temporal shifts within the focal industry and in society at large.

Click here to read “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741-1860” from Administrative Science Quarterly. Make sure to sign up for e-alerts and get notified on research like this from Administrative Science Quarterly!