Category research has flourished over the last decade. While this body of work has prioritized the behavioral and economic consequences of stable classification systems, the papers in this special issue challenge this orientation by highlighting the importance of category dynamics for improving our understanding of markets and fields. We show how these papers support the emergence of category maintenance, the recategorization of mature categories, and the consolidation of new categories as understudied phenomena and as the next research challenges to pursue. After connecting the main findings of the papers in this special issue into a unified process model, we discuss various alternative pathways to further explore those challenges. We also point to how this theoretical endeavor runs on slippery slopes and might lead to cul-de-sacs such as terminological balkanization. We conclude by highlighting the need for developing a more comprehensive understanding of category dynamics.
Giuseppe Delmestri, Filippo Carlo Wezel, Elizabeth Goodrick, and Marvin Washington. 2019. The Hidden Paths of Category Research: Climbing new heights and slippery slopes, Organization Studies, first published 11 June, 2020. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0170840620932591