Looking for academic legitimacy: scientific category spanning under information asymmetries


vicolo dalla Piccola 12

As previous research has recognized the costs and benefits associated to category spanning, it has not yet investigated the extent to which category spanning influences individuals’ legitimization in the light of an evaluating audience. In this paper, we focus on scientists’ careers, analysing how scientific category spanning is evaluated by an academic panel when a scientist’s CV is filed for promotion. We hold that the category spanning assessment by the evaluating panel is influenced by the level of information asymmetries between the two parties. We then investigate (i) how the presence of information asymmetries impacts on the panel evaluation of category spanning and (ii) under what conditions this evaluation may vary due to different levels of information asymmetries. We address three candidate-panel features, namely the level of candidate embeddedness in the panel area of expertise, the level of scientific overlap between the candidate and the panel, and the panel workload. We use data on the population of 55,896 CVs submitted to the first national scientific qualification that took place in Italy in 2012. We offer implications for management theory and science policy.


  • Riccardo Fini - Guest Speaker
    University of Bologna
    Riccardo Fini is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management at the University of Bologna (UNIBO) and Fellow at Imperial College London (ICL). He is the Associate Dean for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Director of the Master in Entrepreneurship and of the Global MBA (Innovation) at Bologna Business School. Before joining UNIBO, he researched at Ecole des Mines Paris, Case Western Cleveland and U. of Bozen. He was also EU IEF Marie Curie Fellow at ICL and Assistant Professor and EU CIG Marie Curie Fellow at UNIBO. His research has been published in leading management journals and he is among the top 4% most downloaded authors on www.ssrn. He has been awarded €350.000 of research funds and invited to present his research in more than thirty universities, in eighteen countries, throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and Americas. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Management Studies, serves as reviewer for twenty scientific journals and has been appointed to the Membership Committee of the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division. His research has been featured in Il Sole24Ore, Nature, Times Higher Education and The New York Times.
  • Laura Toschi - Guest Speaker
    University of Bologna

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