What’s the value of being different when everyone is? The effects of distinctiveness on performance in homogeneous versus heterogeneous categories
in Strategic Management Journal (Forthcoming)

SMJABSTRACT: Is moderate distinctiveness optimal for performance? Answers to this question have been mixed, with both inverted U‐ and U‐shaped relationships being argued for and found in the literature. I show how nearly identical mechanisms driving the distinctiveness‐performance relationship can yield both U‐ and inverted U‐shaped effects due to differences in relative strength, rather than their countervailing nature. Incorporating distinctiveness heterogeneity, I theorize a U‐shaped effect in homogeneous categories that flattens into an inverted U in heterogeneous categories. Results combining a topic model of 69,188 organizational websites with survey data from 2,279 participants in the Dutch creative industries show a U‐shaped effect in homogeneous categories, flattening and then disappearing in more heterogeneous categories. How distinctiveness affects performance thus depends entirely on how distinct others are.

DOI: 10.1002/smj.2978

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Thinking about U: Theorizing and testing U- and inverted U-shaped relationships in strategy research
with Constant Pieters and Zilin He in Strategic Management Journal (2016)

SMJABSTRACT: U- and inverted U-shaped relationships are increasingly explored in strategy research, with 11 percent of all articles published in Strategic Management Journal (SMJ) in 2008–2012 investigating such quadratic relationships. Moreover, a movement towards introducing moderation to quadratic relationships has emerged. By reviewing 110 articles published in SMJ from 1980 to 2012, we identify several critical issues in theorizing and testing of these relationships for which current practice falls short. These include insufficient causal argumentation, incorrect testing, mixing up two different types of moderation, and not realizing that the curve can flip completely. For these and other issues, a guideline is provided which, when followed, may bring clarity to theoretical motivation and rigor to empirical testing.

DOI: 10.1002/smj.2399

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Expected job creation across the cultural industries: A sectoral division and its implications for cultural policy
with Arjen van Witteloostuijn in the International Journal of Cultural Policy (2018)

ABSTRACT: The cultural industries have come to the forefront as the potential job creators of the future. However, building on the concentric circles model and production system view of the cultural industries, we pose that many young and small organizations in the industries lack the motivation, ability, and opportunity to become job creator. We reason that industry location crucially affects job creation expectations. Evidence from an international sample of early-stage entrepreneurs strongly supports this thesis. We identify a divide between entrepreneurs in the ‘core’ cultural industries vis-à-vis those in the ‘non-core’ cultural industries, where the latter group is indistinguishable from entrepreneurs in non-cultural industries in their job creation expectations. Simultaneously, those in the core cultural industries are distinct from others in their expectations to maintain the same number of jobs, rather than grow. These findings have important implications for cultural policy aimed at promoting employment growth in the cultural industries.

DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2015.1128420

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