Building the legitimacy of whistleblowers: A multi-case discourse analysis


Contemporary Accounting Research


Departments: Accounting & Management Control, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Whistleblowing; Fraud detection; Role definition; Discourse analysis; Legitimacy; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

Evidence suggests society still does not view whistleblowers as wholly legitimate – despite legal protections now offered in some jurisdictions, such as the United States. Drawing on a discourse analysis, (i.e., an examination of statements), we investigate the well-publicized stories of seven whistleblowers from 69 sources, including books, first- and second-hand interviews, websites and videos. Our focus is to examine how whistleblower discourses can build legitimacy by more tightly defining the whistleblower role and demonstrating its alignment with social norms. Using whistleblower self-narratives, we identify four narrative patterns: (1) Trigger(s): the event(s) leading to whistleblowing; (2) Personality traits: whistleblower’s morality, resourcefulness, and determination; (3) Constraints: barriers requiring regulatory and organizational change; and (4) Consequences: the longer-term positive impact of the whistleblowing act. These patterns rely on symbolic, analogical, and metaphorical framing to allow others to better understand the role of whistleblowers and enlist their support. Exploring a dataset of 1,621 press articles, we find indications that these narrative patterns resonate in the media – which provide a form of support and may be instrumental in legitimizing the whistleblower role. Grounded on these results, we develop a legitimacy construction model of the whistleblower role, i.e., a representation of how role legitimacy is produced and sustained. From this model, we identify a number of important areas for future research

Can Innovation Help U.S. Manufacturing Firms Escape Import Competition from China?


The Journal of Finance


Departments: Finance, GREGHEC (CNRS)

We study whether R&D-intensive firms are more resilient to trade shocks. Wecorrect for the endogeneity of R&D using tax-induced changes to R&D cost. While rising imports from China lead to slower sales growth and lower profitability, these effects are significantly smaller for firms with a larger stock of R&D (by about half when moving from the bottom quartile to the top quartile of R&D). We provide evidence that this effect is explained R&D allowing firms to increase product differentiation. As a result, while firms in import-competing industries cut capital expenditures and employment, R&D-intensive firms downsize considerably less

Career Stage Dependent Effects of Law Firm Governance: A Multilevel Study of Professional-Client Misconduct


Human Relations


Departments: Management & Human Resources, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Categorizing Institutional Logics, Institutionalizing Categories: A Review of Two Literatures


Academy of Management Annals


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

This review assembles two highly referenced streams of research in organization and management studies over the past decade: institutional logics and categories. We present the gist of each literature focusing on the interaction within and between organizations vis-à-vis the institutional logics and category systems that condition behavior. Then, we suggest that both streams have compatible assumptions that warrant further integration, and suggest opportunities for future research stemming from (1) complementarities related to inter- and intra-audience variance, formation and recombination of logics and categories, and actors’ identity and (2) differences related to theory level of analysis, incorporation of conflict, and methods of analysis. Integration can lead to better specified mechanisms, processes, and contexts important to improving accuracy and development of these research streams

Competing Through Categorization: Product- and Audience-Centric Strategies in an Evolving Categorical Structure


Organization Studies


Departments: Languages & Cultures

Keywords: category-level status, competitive dynamics, status within categories, strategic categorization

We investigate how and why competing organizations position their similar products in categories of varying status. We studied the paired longitudinal case of the highly publicized contest between ESSEC and HEC, two French business schools, as they sought to position their core Grande Ecole program in the evolving international business education categorical structure. We conceptualize categorization as a competitive, relational process involving multiple actors and producing various meanings and perceptions. Our study (a) highlights the role of anticipated category status spillovers versus anticipated relative status within a category in producers’ entry decisions; (b) contrasts product- and audience-centric categorization strategies; and (c) shows the role of intermediaries in adjudicating categorization contests