Categories and Classification

This theory or framework examines how markets and products are grouped into categories. This grouping serves many useful purposes, including communicating in simple terms what the product is because of the shared understandings. In some instances, products are very general and thus span multiple categories. This has been shown to have a negative impact. Another potential issue is the legitimation of (new) categories or products.

These are some important concepts:

  • Market category is defined as a market identity, an exchange relation labeled with meaning, or a market specialization.
  • Product categories are often given (for example movie genres) sometimes generated.
  • There are different types of market interactions. For example buyer-seller or critic-seller.
  • In this case, the market intermediaries are the third parties (critics).
  • Unit of analysis: characteristics of product, organization, target audience.

Some papers in strategic management pertaining to categories and classification include:

  • Zuckerman 1999
  • Hsu, Hannan and Kocak 2009
  • Navis and Glynn 2010
  • Kim and Jensen 2011
(Adapted from course notes)
(Flashcards and other resources here)

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