The Price of Admission: Organizational Deference as Strategic Behavior

Abstract 0

Why would market organizations engage in symbolic and material acts conveying appreciation and respect to other organizations that confirm their inferior position in an established hierarchy? Deference, we argue, is the price outsider organizations pay to pass categorical and symbolic boundaries, and gain acceptance in contexts where insiders regard them as impure. Because not all organizations can or are willing to pay the price, deference varies according to positional, dispositional, and interactional characteristics. We examine and find support for the view of organizational deference as strategic behavior using empirical evidence on market finance organizations investing in film production in France over two decades. Our analysis expands research on non-conflictual interactions and symbolic boundaries in market settings.

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