The differential categorization of novel products by institutional actors across places : The case of e-cigarettes in the US and the UK

in Strategic Organization, 21 (1)

Tharchen, Thinley ; Garud, Raghu

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"Adopting a place-based approach to categorization, we explore how and why institutional actors in the US and the UK have categorized e-cigarettes differently, namely as tobacco products in the US and as non-tobacco consumer products in the UK. Our inquiry identified the historical contingencies generating two different perspectives informing these differential categorizations—precautionary in the US and harm-reduction in the UK. Embedded in these two perspectives are different future ... imaginaries to address the harm from cigarettes and e-cigarettes to the different population groups at risk (i.e. smokers versus youth and non-smokers). Data also show institutional actors across the two countries offering justifications for or against e-cigarettes by deploying facts from different scientific research. We theorize these findings and conclude the article by discussing the importance of adopting a place-based approach to categorization."

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