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Publications
Journal Article
Journal of Management Inquiry 27 (4): 378–381
Henning Piezunka, Wonjae Lee, Richard Haynes, Matthew S. Bothner (2018)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
Status, competition, tournaments
Merton often envisioned status growth as a process of stepping across a boundary between one status grade and another more elite status grade. Such boundaries include the border between graduate school and a top academic department that young researchers try to traverse, or the frontier between scientists outside the French Academy and scientists inside the French Academy. As it is now common to measure status continuously using network data, the behavioral ramifications of status boundaries have been understudied in recent research. In this essay, we focus on competitive behaviors that emerge near a status boundary because of the desirability - as well as the “double injustice” - of the Matthew effect. Offering insights for future research, we discuss how these competitive behaviors are likely to delay, or even derail, status growth for those who are near a status boundary.
With permission of SAGE Publishing
Volume
27
Journal Pages
378–381
ISSN (Online)
15526542
ISSN (Print)
10564926
Journal Article
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (15): E3361–E3367
Henning Piezunka, Wonjae Lee, Richard Haynes, Matthew S. Bothner (2018)
Subject(s)
Human resources management/organizational behavior; Management sciences, decision sciences and quantitative methods
Keyword(s)
Competition, conflict, social networks, status, tournaments
JEL Code(s)
D74, J28
Volume
115
Journal Pages
E3361–E3367
Journal Article
Administrative Science Quarterly 61 (2): 217–253
Noah Askin, Matthew S. Bothner (2016)
Subject(s)
Human resources management/organizational behavior; Management sciences, decision sciences and quantitative methods; Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
Status, performance feedback theory, decision making, college rankings, Chivas Regal effect, pricing, signaling
This paper examines the effect of status loss on organizations’ price-setting behavior. We predict, counter to current status theory and aligned with performance feedback theory, that a status decline prompts certain organizations to charge higher prices and that there are two kinds of organizations most prone to make such price increases: those with broad appeal across disconnected types of customers and those whose most strategically similar rivals have charged high prices previously. Using panel data from U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of private colleges and universities from 2005 to 2012, we model the effect of drops in rank that take a school below an aspiration level. We find that schools set tuition higher after a sharp decline in rank, particularly those that appeal widely to college applicants and whose rivals are relatively more expensive. This study presents a dynamic conception of status that differs from the prevailing view of status as a stable asset that yields concrete benefits. In contrast to past work that has assumed that organizations passively experience negative effects when their status falls, our results show that organizations actively respond to status loss. Status is a performance related goal for such producers, who may increase prices as they work to recover lost ground after a status decline.
With permission of Sage
Volume
61
Journal Pages
217–253
Journal Article
Social Science Research 52 (4): 588–601
Matthew S. Bothner, Young-Kyu Kim, Wonjae Lee (2015)
Subject(s)
Human resources management/organizational behavior
Keyword(s)
Status, US venture capital industry
This article introduces a distinction between two kinds of status and investigates their effects empirically on the life chances of U.S. venture capital organizations. Using recent research on status-based competition as our starting point, we first describe primary status as a network-related signal of an organization’s quality in a leadership role, and measure primary status as the degree to which a focal organization leads others that are themselves well regarded as lead-organizations in the context of investment syndicates. We then introduce complementary status as an affiliation-based indicator of an organization’s quality in a supporting role, measuring complementary status as the extent to which a focal organization is invited into syndicates by well-regarded lead-organizations—that is, by organizations possessing high levels of primary status. Findings show that both kinds of status negatively affect the rate at which venture capital organizations exit the industry. In addition, consistent with the proposition that primary status and complementary status correspond to distinct market roles and different market identities, primary status and complementary status attenuate each other’s favorable main effects on survival for dedicated venture capital organizations. Theoretically and methodologically oriented scope conditions as well as implications for future research are discussed.
With permission of Elsevier
Volume
52
Journal Pages
588–601
Journal Article
Organization Science 23 (2): 416–433
Matthew S. Bothner, Young-Kyu Kim, Edward Bishop Smith (2012)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
status, network analysis, graphs, tournaments, performance
Two competing predictions about the effect of status on performance appear in the organizational theory and sociological literatures. On the one hand, various researchers have posited that status elevates levels of performance. This line of work emphasizes tangible and intangible resources that accrue to occupants of high-status positions and thus pictures status as an asset. On the other hand, a second line of work emphasizes complacency and distraction as deleterious processes that plague occupants of high-status positions and thus portrays status as a liability. Which of these two approaches best characterizes the actual performance of individuals in a market setting? And are these views in any way reconcilable? In this article, we summarize the two views and test them in two empirical settings: the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR). Using panel data on the PGA Tour, we model golfers' strokes from par in each competition as a function of their status in the sport. Using similar data on NASCAR's Winston Cup Series, we model drivers' speed in the qualifying round as a function of their status in the sport. We find curvilinear effects of status in both empirical settings. Performance improves with status-until a very high level of status is reached, after which performance wanes. This result not only concurs with the view that status brings tangible and intangible resources, but also provides empirical support for the contention that status fosters dispositions and behaviors that undermine performance.
© 2012 INFORMS
Volume
23
Journal Pages
416–433
Journal Article
Management Science 57 (3): 439–457
Matthew S. Bothner, Joel M. Podolny, Edward Bishop Smith (2011)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
networks, graphs, theory, organizational studies, design, effectiveness, performance, status, leadership
What is the best way to design tournaments for status, in which individuals labor primarily for the esteem of their peers? What process, in other words, should organizers of status-based contests impose upon those who covet peer recognition? We propose a formal model of status-based competition that contrasts two competing alternatives. The first, following Merton, is the "Matthew Effect," according to which a tournament's architect directs slack resources to elite actors and thus widens the distribution of rewards by favoring cumulative advantage. The second is the "Mark Effect," under which a tournament's designer instead pushes slack resources to marginal actors and thus tightens the distribution of rewards. Our results suggest that although the Mark Effect is better for the social welfare of most tournaments, the Matthew Effect is preferable in two distinct contexts: in small tournaments where variation in underlying ability translates into acute advantages for the most capable contestants; and in large tournaments whose contestants face constant, rather than rising, marginal costs-a condition we relate to contestants' perception of their work as intrinsically valuable. Our contributions are twofold: We find, counter to the thrust of Merton's work, that cumulative advantage is not invariably optimal for the functioning of status contests; and we identify circumstances in which the production of superstars is likely to make contests for status better off in aggregate. Implications for future research on status and management are discussed.
© 2011 INFORMS
Volume
57
Journal Pages
439–457
Journal Article
American Journal of Sociology 116 (3): 943–992
Matthew S. Bothner, Edward Bishop Smith, Harrison C. White (2010)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
robustness, status, network analysis, graphs
This article introduces a network model that pictures occupants of robust positions as recipients of diversified support from durably located others and portrays occupants of fragile positions as dependents on tenuously situated others. The model extends Herfindahl's index of concentration by bringing in the recursiveness of Bonacich's method. Using Newcomb's study of a college fraternity, we find empirical support for the contention that fragility reduces future growth in status. Applications of the model to input-output networks among industries in the U.S. economy and to hiring networks among academic departments are also presented. Implications for future research are discussed.
With permission of the University of Chicago Press
Volume
116
Journal Pages
943–992
Journal Article
Journal of Mathematical Sociology 34 (2): 80–114
Matthew S. Bothner, Richard Haynes, Wonjae Lee, Edward Bishop Smith (2010)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
leadership, social networks, status
What are the boundary conditions of the Matthew Effect? In other words, under what circumstances do initial status differences result in highly skewed reward distributions over the long run, and when, conversely, is the accumulation of status-based advantages constrained? Using a formal model, we investigate the fates of actors in a contest who start off as status-equivalents, produce at different levels of quality, and thus come to occupy distinct locations in a status ordering. We build from a set of equations in which failing to observe cumulative advantage seems implausible and then demonstrate that, despite initial conditions designed to lead inevitably to status monopolization, circumstances still exist that rein in the Matthew Effect. Our results highlight the importance of a single factor governing whether the Matthew Effect operates freely or is circumscribed. This factor is the degree to which status diffuses through social relations. When actors' status levels are strongly influenced by the status levels of those dispensing recognition to them, then eventually the top-ranked actor is nearly matched in status by the lower-ranked actor she endorses. In contrast, when actors' status levels are unaffected by the status levels of those giving them recognition, the top-ranked actor amasses virtually all status available in the system. Our primary contribution is the intuition that elites may unwittingly and paradoxically destroy their cumulative advantage beneath the weight of their endorsements of others. Consequently, we find that the Matthew Effect is curtailed by a process that, at least in some social settings, is a property of status itself-its propensity to diffuse through social relations. Implications for future research are discussed.
Volume
34
Journal Pages
80–114
Journal Article
Marketing Letters 19 (3–4): 287–304
Wesley R. Hartmann, Puneet Manchanda, Harikesh Nair, Matthew S. Bothner, Peter Dodds, David Godes, Kartik Hosanagar et al. (2008)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
social interactions, networking, social multiplier, peer effects
Volume
19
Journal Pages
287–304
Journal Article
Administrative Science Quarterly 52 (2): 208–247
Matthew S. Bothner, Jeong-han Kang, Toby E. Stuart (2007)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
tournaments, ecology, labor economics, risk taking, competitive crowding, peer effects, loss aversion
This article uses National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) races to examine how competitive crowding affects the risk-taking conduct of actors in a tournament. We develop three claims: (1) crowding from below, which measures the number of competitors capable of surpassing a given actor in a tournament-based contest, predisposes that actor to take risks; (2) as a determinant of risky conduct, crowding from below has a stronger influence than crowding from above, which captures the opportunity to advance in rank; and (3) the effect of crowding from below is strongest after the rank ordering of the actors in a tournament becomes relatively stable, which focuses contestants' attention on proximately ranked competitors. Using panel data on NASCAR's Winston Cup Series from 1990 through 2003, we model the probability that a driver crashes his car in a race. Findings show that drivers crash their vehicles with greater frequency when their positions are increasingly at risk of displacement by their nearby, lower-ranked counterparts; the effect of crowding from below exceeds that of crowding from above; and the effect of crowding by lower-ranked contestants is greatest when there is relatively little race-to-race change in the rank ordering of drivers.
With permission of Sage
Volume
52
Journal Pages
208–247
Journal Article
Industrial and Corporate Change 14 (4): 617–638
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
stochastic growth, peer effects, network analysis, relative size, performance
Volume
14
Journal Pages
617–638
Journal Article
Journal of Mathematical Sociology 28 (4): 261–295
Matthew S. Bothner, Toby E. Stuart, Harrison C. White (2004)
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
status, cohesion, inequality, sociology of markets
This article examines the effects of status differentiation on the cohesion of a social structure. Using a formal model, we simulate the fates of a hypothetical cohort of newly hired employees, who are equals in the eyes of their boss and in the nascent stages of sorting into a status hierarchy. We cast these employees in a process in which they exert effort, receive public approval from the boss in exchange, and thus come to fill different places in a status order. We then consider the circumstances under which these workers cohere as a group and when, by contrast, differentiation makes cohesion among them unlikely. Our results show that the extent of the boss's autonomy in relationship to employees accounts for this difference in outcomes. Under an autonomous boss, as differentiation transpires, status-based social forces break the group of workers apart. Conversely, when the boss occupies a compromised position, group-level cohesion coexists with differentiation. Our main contribution is the intuition that the cohesion-related consequences of status differentiation can substantially depend on the tie between contestants and their external audience. We conclude by developing conjectures for empirical research consistent with our main findings.
Volume
28
Journal Pages
261–295
Subject(s)
Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s)
technology diffusion, strategy, network analysis, contagion, peer effects, event history analysis
When is a social actor most strongly influenced by its peers? This article addresses this question by clarifying when computer firms were most strongly affected by the choices of their structurally equivalent rivals to adopt a well-known technology: Intel's sixth-generation processor. The core hypothesis is that the effect of adoptions by structurally equivalent firms increases with the competitive pressure that a focal firm faces in its market position. The results show that a chosen firm is most strongly influenced by comparable others when it faces scale-based competition and is diversified. The implications of this study are twofold: a social actor's sensitivity to the conduct of others may depend not only on its place in a hierarchy but also on the nature of its ties to an external audience; and a contingent theory of social influence may be necessary to characterize diffusion processes correctly, particularly when external and time-varying nonnetwork factors have significant effects.
With permission of the University of Chicago Press
Volume
108
Journal Pages
1175–1210