Strategic responses to categorization
- This dissertation considers a number of theoretical alternatives to the work on category theory. By integrating category theory with insights from the behavioral theory of the firm, it focuses attention on the role producers play in reacting to and generating the system of categories in markets. Producers react strategically given the limited information available to them and given the competitive incentives imposed on them by the market. The consequences of their decisions can both replicate and differ from the predictions of category theory. The first chapter introduces and situates these ideas in prior work. In Chapter 2, I extend the work on middle-status conformity into a general framework of quality thresholds in markets. Quality thresholds affect producer incentives to innovate, and come in two forms: fixed thresholds encourage conformity from above-threshold producers while responsive thresholds encourage innovation. The chapter presents a typology of market innovation, showing how market structures predict when innovation will emerge from top producers in a market, when from mid-tier producers, when from both, and when from neither. Chapter 3 evaluates the theoretical model presented in the second chapter in an experimental setting. In addition it discusses the role of quality thresholds as policy instruments in determining the locus of innovation in many real world settings. Chapter 4 provides an alternative mechanism for the effects identified in category theory by minimizing the key role of the audience. It argues that producer competition in uncertain markets generates a dynamic in which producers tend to imitate their successful peers and avoid their unsuccessful peers. Over time, clusters tend to form around successful producers, creating a correlation between producer appeal or success, and producer density. If audiences rationalize dense clusters of producers as categories, the correlation between clustering and success may be misinterpreted as a penalty against category spanning or against mis-categorized producers. While replicating existing effects, this model also makes a number of novel predictions about category dynamics and category emergence that distinguish it from prior theory.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
|Barnett, William P
|Barnett, William P
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Graduate School of Business.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2017.
- © 2017 by Anthony Vashevko
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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