Stigmatized Categories and Public Disapproval of Organizations: A Mixed Methods Study of the Global Arms Industry (1996–2007)

Academy of Management Journal, 55(5): 1027-1052

26 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011 Last revised: 17 Jan 2013

See all articles by Jean-Philippe Vergne

Jean-Philippe Vergne

University College London - School of Management

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Using qualitative and quantitative methods, the paper draws on the categorization and stigmatization literatures to predict the amount of negative social evaluations received by firms, i.e. disapproval. Association with a stigmatized category does not automatically result in disapproval, because straddling multiple categories dilutes stakeholder attention from the stigma. Findings highlight how managers can modify categorical associations at the industry and customer levels to decrease disapproval, and I discuss implications for diversification and internationalization strategies. Results also show that 9/11 modified the saliency of the categories used by arms industry stakeholders. Finally, the paper suggests that stigmatized industries manage to thrive in the long run despite stigmatization thanks to their members’ category straddling behavior, which makes social evaluations more neutral (less negative).

Keywords: disapproval, stigma, category, social evaluations, mixed methods, diversification, aerospace and defense industry

JEL Classification: C23, D21, F23, H56, F57, L20, L69, L99, M10

Suggested Citation

Vergne, Jean-Philippe, Stigmatized Categories and Public Disapproval of Organizations: A Mixed Methods Study of the Global Arms Industry (1996–2007) (2012). Academy of Management Journal, 55(5): 1027-1052, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1975860

Jean-Philippe Vergne (Contact Author)

University College London - School of Management ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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