Bundle Up Before You Go : Toward a Bundle Approach to Product Categorization

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Management
Publication statusOnline published - 12 May 2022



Market participants, such as producers and audiences, often use a list of categories to label, evaluate, or promote products. Extant category research focuses overwhelmingly on a category's social properties and connectivity to explain why a category is used to describe a product. However, categories often cluster together, and little is known about how this clustering affects the appearance of a category in the description of a product. In this article, we define the easily reproducible clustering of categories as a category bundle and develop a novel measurement, bundle congruence, to measure the fitness of the category bundle. We argue that audiences employ bundle congruence to choose or exclude categories. In markets in which audiences dominate product categorization, a category's bundle congruence in a product's descriptions increases the probability that it is used for the product. Moreover, the overall bundle congruence of a product elevates the economic returns of the focal product. Our arguments are supported by an empirical analysis of feature films produced in North America. This study not only enriches the understanding of the bundle structure of the category system but also provides a novel explanation of why category spanning remains ubiquitous, despite the findings of previous studies, which assert that category-straddling products are prone to be punished financially.

Research Area(s)

  • category membership, category bundle, category spanning, product performance, the categorical imperative, MARKET CATEGORIES, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, PERFORMANCE, DYNAMICS, CONSEQUENCES, PERSPECTIVE, LEGITIMACY, INDUSTRY, REVIEWS, IMPACT

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Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).

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