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The nuts and bolts of the UK kit car movement, 1949-2009: an ecological analysis

FLETCHER, MARK,ANDREW (2012) The nuts and bolts of the UK kit car movement, 1949-2009: an ecological analysis. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The one qualitative and two empirical chapters of this thesis addresses the following theory fragments of organizational ecology: (1) the theoretical construction and empirical evidence in support of a frequency code, (2) organizational vital rates with respect to multiple category membership (3) measuring population dynamics: diversity and the engagement niche.
(1) the theoretical construction and empirical evidence in support of a frequency code. The theory of the code (Polos et al, 2002; Hannan et al., 2007) is a relatively novel theoretical construction in ecology, with little - if any - explicit empirical/qualitative research conducted in this area. This chapter highlights how the present construction of a code is unsuited in its application to a specific sub - set of the audience: critics. General audience members are unable to dedicate time and effort in understanding all aspects of an offering or organization; they look at only a small set of feature values. Should an object satisfy this schema, the object takes on a taken for granted character. The fewer the feature values assessed by an audience member, the higher the taken for grantedness of the object. By devising a frequency code, the role of the critic - reducing uncertainty to audience members by assessing
all aspects of an object - can be fully appreciated. Although all aspects of the objects are scrutinized, some feature values might come under more scrutiny than others. It is this aspect of the frequency code that determines an object’s taken for granted character. Should all of the features be subjected to low scrutiny, the taken for granted character of the object is high; should the
feature values be subjected to higher scrutiny, the taken for granted character of the object is lower. Restating aspects of the theory leads to insights that can be qualitatively assessed with respect to critical reviews of kit cars. By using content analysis to support the theory development, it is hoped the issue of defining and measuring codes is progressed further by researchers, and the insight garnered from qualitative data analysis can be applied more often to studies assessing codes.

(2) organizational vital rates with respect to multiple category membership. Category generalism (those which claim membership of more than one labeled category) and category specialism (those which claim membership of a single labeled category) have focussed on audience appeal, whether it be via critical attention of securities (Zuckerman, 1999; 2000), film reviews (Zuckerman and Kim, 2003; Zuckerman, Kim, Ukanwa, and von Rittman, 2003; Hsu, 2006) or wine reviews (Negro et al, 2010). Category specialists
have higher audience appeal and fitness at a given position than category generalists. Such appeal might manifest itself in the form of greater coverage by critics (Hsu, 2006) and more favorable reviews (Hsu, 2006; Negro et al.,
2010), to a higher probability of selling a product at online auction (Hsu et al., 2009). One of the limitations of these studies is that they do not have sufficient temporal length to investigate core ecological and evolutionary dynamics of entry and exit rates. By having the complete history of the UK kit car movement from its inception in 1949 to 2009, attempts can be made at applying multiple category membership to a long term evolutionary perspective. Empirical evidence supports the hypotheses that the interaction of density of category generalists (those organizations which produce both type authentic and craft authentic product offerings) inhibits the legitimation
of the category specialist identities (type authentic category specialists and craft authentic category specialists). This interaction between density of category generalists and category specialists lowers the founding rate and increases the failure rate of category specialists. Although the lower appeal of category generalists has been documented, the deleterious effect of increasing category generalist density on the vital rates (and legitimation) of category specialist identities has not been assessed.

(3) measuring population dynamics: diversity and the engagement niche. Measuring the engagement niche (Hannan et al., 2007) of an organization is a complex task, with different ways in which a variable can be constructed
(Hannan et al., 2007; Hsu et al., 2009). This chapter examines the effect of constructing variables that capture the engagement niche of an organizationin a competitive environment. It starts with a relatively basic construction,
then builds up to one that considers competition within a product category, and then one within the population. The merits or otherwise of each variable and their implications to researchers are discussed in detail. It concludes with
comparing the Simpson Index of diversity against the Shannon entropy measure with the intention of analyzing the particular strengths of each diversity measure. The differing variables capturing the engagement niche illustrate the attention required by the analyst when deciding on how to conceptualize the engagement niche.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Organizational ecology; codes; multiple category membership; measuring diversity; kit cars
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2012 10:13

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