Evaluating negative evaluation: An experimental investigation of category spanning

N. Betancourt, I. Hoever, J.G. Kuilman, F.C. Wezel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This article explores the boundary conditions and behavioral causes of the social penalties faced by category spanning organizations. While the literature identifies withholding attention and devaluation as antecedents of negative evaluations, many studies do not differentiate between these constructs. We utilize an experimental approach in which we manipulate category spanning, category contrast, and individuals’ activity level to better understand how category spanning leads to a lack of attention or negative evaluations. Our temporal distinction (proximal vs. distal) differentiates the allocation of attention from evaluation of organizations. We predict that the level of attention should not significantly differ between category focused and category spanning organizations. Furthermore, while active audience members will negatively evaluate category spanning organizations, this effect will be observed only under certain conditions, such as moderate levels of spanning and high levels of contrast. Our analysis furthers our understanding of the category spanning penalty and has implications for the study of the influence of market categories on audience members’ perceptions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBest Paper Proceedings of the 2013 Academy of Management Meeting
EditorsL. Toombs
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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