IMO MORSe Seminar: Giuseppe Delmestri (WU Vienna)

Institute of Management and Organisation

Date: 18 September 2019 / 12:30 - 14:00

PC04 Blue Building

The Institute of Management and Organization is glad to invite you to the next MORSe seminar given by Giuseppe Delmestri from WU Vienna on Sept 18 from 12:00 to 13:30 in PC04 in the Blue Building.

He will be presenting a paper titled:Organizations, Categories and Polities. An Institutional Theory of Status Competition


Abstract: Organizations compete for resources and status. They seek membership in horizontal categories in order to be recognizable to audiences, as well as higher vertical status positions in order to establish competitive distinction. At the organizational level, horizontal membership and vertical position define organizations’ market identities. At the field level, status categorization is the outcome of their interdependent position-taking vis-a-vis their audiences. Through branding, for instance, organizations visually declare an association with a realm of meanings for recognition and make a claim for intended position in status competition. Investigating branding styles of 915 higher education organizations worldwide and zooming in on three exemplary polities – Italy, Germany and the U.S. – we uncover the still unrecognized role of polities in defining context-specific status categories and in conditioning the form of competition between or within them. Our findings show that status categorization operates at different levels depending on the characteristics of the national polity (e.g. liberal, statist or corporatist) and affects how status competition takes place, i.e. who are the competing parties (e.g. organizations, categories, professions), in which sphere they compete (e.g. market, field or society), and how they position themselves in these spheres. Our findings also highlight the role of polities, above and beyond that of policies, as institutions actively ‘do classifications’ and reveal that Podolny’s status-based market competition is only one out of several potential category systems. In addition to these conceptual claims, we also propose a new inductive and relational method to visually capture meaning of categories especially in big data.