Law and (Re)Order : Impact of Category-Stretching Strategies on Firms' Performance and Evaluation. The Case of the Corporate Legal Services Market (2000-2010)

Abstract : This dissertation explores how market categories - clusters that share cognitive and cultural similarities - impact firms' performance and evaluation. Pervasive consensus in literature indicates organizations that do not fall into a single category suffer economic and social disadvantages.Unsettling this current consensus about the categorical imperative, this dissertation advocates that external audiences have a more complex role than simply patrolling the boundaries and sanctioning any infringement of established categories. They scrutinize categories in various ways depending on their needs. They infer some characteristics of firms from one category membership to another. They diverge about the category memberships and evaluation of firms. This dissertation provides evidence that in such cases, spanning categories both leads to positive social evaluations for organizations, but decreases performance in case of inconsistency across categories. Empirically I study the corporate legal services market in three major financial locations (New-York City, Paris and London) over a decade (2000-2010). My findings are twofold:(i) multi-category law firms- those that are engaged in several practice areas of law - receive better social evaluation from clients both at the firm level and at the practice area level; (ii) disagreement among clients' evaluation about law firms' practice areas undermines their financial performance. This dissertation deepens our understanding of the role that categorical structures play in markets and the category-stretching strategies firms implement to better navigate the "category map". This work contributes also to research in legal studies and has implications for law firms' business development
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Lionel Paolella. Law and (Re)Order : Impact of Category-Stretching Strategies on Firms' Performance and Evaluation. The Case of the Corporate Legal Services Market (2000-2010). Business administration. HEC, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014EHEC0014⟩. ⟨tel-01333629⟩

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