Organization and Management Theory OMT

Call for Papers SI on Categories & Place, Strategic Organization

  • 1.  Call for Papers SI on Categories & Place, Strategic Organization

    Posted 24 days ago

    Call for Papers: Special Issue of Strategic Organization

    Guest Editors:

    Robert David, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University (

    Candace Jones, University of Edinburgh Business School (

    Grégoire Croidieu, EM-Lyon Business School (

    Deadline 31st January 2021

    Categories are social constructions that differentiate among entities, such as products, people, and organizations (Lamont and Molnár, 2002). Established categories reflect a shared understanding about the inclusion of objects into groups and thereby locate entities within a broader system of meaning or classification (Durand and Boulongne, 2017: 647). At the intersection of the fields of strategic management and organization theory, considerable research on categories has focused on established category systems and the antecedents and consequences of an entity's positioning within these systems, such as studies of category spanning or straddling (Zuckerman, 1999; Granqvist et al., 2013; Kovács and Johnson, 2014; Durand and Khaire, 2017). A smaller body of research, meanwhile, has focused on the role of discourse or theorization in legitimating new market categories (e.g., Rao et al., 2003; Navis and Glynn, 2010; Jones et al., 2012; David et al., 2013; Grodal and Kahl, 2017). Two related aspects of categories have emerged from this extant work. First, categories come to possess collective identities that define "who we are" and "what we do" for category members and that locate categories within broader systems of meaning (Croidieu and Monin, 2010; Wry et al., 2011: 451). Second, categories (and their collective identities) often arise from social movements. New categories such as nouvelle-cuisine (Rao et al., 2003), grass-fed beef (Weber et al., 2008), wind power (Sine and Lee, 2009), modern architecture (Jones et al., 2012), and management consulting (David et al., 2013) all arose from social-movement like activism.

    Although notions of place are often implicit in category studies, rarely is place theorized explicitly in this body of work. Place "is a unique spot", a "distinction between here and there that allows people to appreciate near and far" (Gieryn, 2000: 464). Place is invested with its own meaning and reflects collective histories, memories and identities (Gieryn, 2000; Zukin, 2011; David et al., 2017: 682). Place is also the interplay of location, meaning, and material form (Gieryn, 2000). "Material forms are central to the social construction of place, underpinning sign systems, enabling human interaction, and engendering the relative permanence that defines institutions and provides stability and meaning" (Jones et al., 2019: 212).  Recently, place has been 'brought back in' to organization studies, both as explanandum (Jones et al., 2019) and as explanans (Marquis and Battilana, 2009). "Place-bound features of local communities such as market structures, types of public policies, relational systems and networks, history, tradition, and even physical geographic factors maintain a significant influence on organizations" (Marquis and Battilana, 2009: 284). Lounsbury (2007) showed, for example, how distinct logics that were rooted in different locations (Boston and New York) gave rise to different kinds of mutual fund organizations. Jones and Massa (2013) revealed that the more industrialized cities of Chicago and Buffalo were associated with modern architecture in churches whereas New York City, the cultural center, embraced traditional Gothic forms of church architecture. Croidieu et al. (2016: 2338) explained how "various audiences increasingly connected the fine-wine genre [in Australia] with images and narratives relating to the history and identity of Australia, and its national heritage and pride."

                Inspired by these and other works, this special issue seeks to build understanding of how place influences category dynamics. All of the questions below can be applied to various stages of the category life cycle: category construction, maintenance, transformation, decline, and resurgence.

    The list below is not exhaustive, but promising topics and themes include:

    1. Place and material resources. How does place provide the material resources for category construction and maintenance? Places are fundamentally "material things", depending on infrastructure and other material forms to stabilize a place (Cresswell, 2004: 6). A central challenge in place and categories is that categories and category processes are primarily cognitive (Douglas, 1986), whereas place is fundamentally material. How do the cognitive processes of categories, such as classifying and meaning making, interplay with materiality, such as location specific uniqueness, available resources and material constructions such as infrastructure (Zamparini and Lurati, 2017)?
    2. Place and collective identity. The 'emotional, sentimental bonds between people and place' serve as a 'wellspring of identity' in the same way as do race, class and gender (Gieryn, 2000: 481; Thomas and Meyer, 1984). Collective identities rooted in place are historically contingent, dependent on the symbolic significance of regional autonomy, and reflect the accumulation of sedimented practices (Greenwood et al., 2010). How then might the shared identity associated with place become embedded in the collective identities of new market categories (David et al., 2017)? How might it contribute to category resilience, or decline?
    3. Place and social movements. Social movements, even those global in nature, take on different forms in local environments. If social movements can provide the motivation and ideological resources for new categories (Weber et al., 2008) as well as change notions of which kinds of organizations are desirable or undesirable (Hiatt et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2019), how does local variation in social movements affect category variation?
    4. Place and category processes. Places may have distinct cultural frameworks and material resources that influence category dynamics and diversity. How do places shape processes of category construction, transformation, maintenance, decline and resurgence? Do some places produce or "churn" new categories more quickly than others? Do some places exhibit more category diversity than others? What actor groups are critical to category processes in different places? Are categories in some places more stable or long lasting than others (Kennedy and Fiss, 2013; Lo et al., 2019)? Easier or harder to establish? Answers to these questions may be found in cultural characteristics, educational systems, and legal frameworks such as certification systems and protections for intellectual property.

    Timeline and submission instructions

    All submissions should be uploaded to the Manuscript Central/ Scholar One website: between January 1 and January 31, 2021. Once you have created your account (if you do not already have one) and you are ready to submit your paper, you will need to choose this particular Special Issue from the drop down menu that is provided for the type of submission. Contributions should follow the directions for manuscript submission described on the SO webpage: For queries about submissions, contact SO!'s editorial office at For questions regarding the content of this special issue, contact one of the guest editors.

    Robert David, Candy Jones, Grégoire Croidieu