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Anchors in Rough Seas: Understanding Category Spanning as a Source of Market Coordination

Martina Montauti

Journal of Management Studies, 2019, vol. 56, issue 4, 823-853

Abstract: Prior research has deemed products that span market categories a source of cognitive and institutional disruption. Portraying spanning products as purely disruptive elements, however, does not consider their large presence in markets and, consequently, the fact that producers and consumers continue to coordinate their activities on established categories despite pervasive spanning. Our paper addresses this gap by focusing on commercial success as an important condition under which spanning products, rather than being a source of disruption, sustain market coordination. From the producer side, an increasing number of commercially successful products spanning a focal category stimulates mimicry. From the consumer side, this mimicry, net of the overall level of spanning observed in the category, improves consensus. We test these arguments by focusing on the styles that map electronic music as the established categories of a market. Empirical analyses lend support to our hypotheses.

Date: 2019
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