My latest paper — Opaque Transparency: How Material Affordances Shape Intermediary Work — is now published. Co-authored with Miron Avidan (McGill University) and Dror Etzion (McGill University), this research examines the emergence of FracFocus, self‐regulatory initiative with strong industry ties, charged with disclosing data pertaining to the chemicals used in oil and gas wells completed using hydraulic fracturing technology (fracking) in the United States and Canada. It is part of a larger program of research that has looked at numerous aspects of unconventional shale development and hydraulic fracturing.
The article was published in Regulation & Governance as part of a special issue “Exploring the Formal and Informal Roles of Regulatory Intermediaries in Transnational Multi-Stakeholder Regulation,” edited by Luc Brès, Sébastien Mena, and Marie‐Laure Salles‐Djelic.
Avidan, M., Etzion, D. & Gehman, J. Opaque Transparency: How Material Affordances Shape Intermediary Work. Regulation and Governance. In press. doi:10.1111/rego.12217.
The paper asks: How does the legitimacy conferred on entrepreneurial endeavors affect the legitimacy of subsequent ones? We extend the notion of a “legitimacy threshold” to develop and test a recursive model of legitimacy. Whereas extant research has focused on whether entrepreneurial endeavors garner sufficient support from key audiences to cross this threshold, we argue that the order of magnitude by which they succeed or fail is consequential for later entrants, too. Distinguishing “blockbuster” from “unsung” successes, and “path breaking” from “broken path” failures, we contend that recent successes and failures affect related subsequent endeavors in predictable, though sometimes counterintuitive ways. We test our hypotheses by examining 182,358 entrepreneurial endeavors pitched within 165 categories over a six-year period on Kickstarter, one of the most important crowdfunding platforms. We show that individual outcomes, taken collectively, generate legitimacy spillovers, either by encouraging audiences to repeatedly support other related endeavors or by discouraging them from doing so. Our research contributes to understanding the recursive nature of legitimacy, the competitive dynamics of entrepreneurial efforts, and crowdfunding platforms.
An article I co-authored with Ke Cao (a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta) and Matthew Grimes (Indiana University), was published as the lead chapter of Volume 19 in the Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth series. Edited by Andrew C. Corbett (Babson University) andJerome A. Katz (Saint Louis University), the theme of the volume is Hybrid Ventures.
Abstract: To fulfill their economic and social missions, it is imperative yet challenging for hybrid ventures to demonstrate legitimacy (fitting in) while simultaneously projecting distinctiveness (standing out). One important means for doing so is by adopting and promoting the recent B Corporation certification. Drawing on a comprehensive analysis of the emergence of this certification, we argue that when it comes to promoting their businesses, hybrid ventures should not adopt a one size fits all approach. Rather, their promotion strategies need to be adapted to their specific contexts. We theorize and develop a typology of certification promotion strategies for hybrid ventures based on the relative prevalence of other hybrid ventures in the same regions and industries. We conclude by articulating why the B Corporation movement is a rich and underexplored context for scholarship on hybrid ventures, and highlight several promising future research directions.