Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings includes abstracts of all papers and symposia presented at the annual conference, plus 6-page abridged versions of the “Best Papers” accepted for inclusion in the program (approximately 10%). Papers published in the Proceedings are abridged because presenting papers at their full length could preclude subsequent journal publication. Please contact the author(s) directly for the full papers.

What's in a name? Giving form and meaning to a new culinary category

    Published Online:

    This study examines how a new category gains form and meaning in the presence of multiple logics, competing labels, and multiple modes of sensegiving and sensemaking. We analyze the work of four emblematic chefs associated with the emerging category of ‘molecular gastronomy’ from 1995 to 2015: Grant Achatz, Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, and Massimo Bottura. We show that category formation is a circular and iterative process, consisting of three sub-processes that take place recurrently until its stabilization: creation of innovative work, contestation emerging from the misinterpretation of innovators’ efforts, and consolidation of the meanings and practices associated with the new category. Our study reveals that a new category’s label that is in opposition with the intended meaning of the creators can nonetheless bring that category forward by triggering creators’ engagement in politics of meaning. We conclude by discussing the implications of our work and outlining future research directions.

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