UCL School of Management

Research project

Nonconforming Capitalist Organizations


Pirates, hackers, and maverick entrepreneurs are socially contested for their radical ideas and face asymmetric competition from incumbent players who fear the disruptive potential of new business models. Another type of nonconformity is found in traditional sectors, where genre-bending organizations sometimes straddle existing product categories at their own risk. While nonconformity, genuine or feigned, may be the name of the game in capitalist economies, we need a better understanding of how illegitimate and stigmatized players manage to change the rules of the game and enable new models for competition—and for society at large. 


Selected publications

Vergne, J. P. (2011). Towards a New Measure of Organizational Legitimacy: Method, Validation, and Illustration. Organizational Research Methods, 14 (3), 484-502. doi:10.1177/1094428109359811 [link]
Vergne, J. P., & Wry, T. (2014). Categorizing Categorization Research: Review, Integration, and Future Directions. Journal of Management Studies, 51 (1), 56-94. doi:10.1111/joms.12044 [link]
Vergne, J. P. (2012). Stigmatized Categories and Public Disapproval of Organizations: A Mixed Methods Study of the Global Arms Industry (19962007). Academy of Management Journal, 55 (5), 1027-1052. doi:10.5465/amj.2010.0599 [link]
Vergne, J. P., & Swain, G. (2017). Categorical Anarchy in the U.K.? The British Media's Classification of Bitcoin and the Limits of Categorization. null (pp. 185-222). doi:10.1108/S0733-558X20170000051005 [link]
Durand, R., & Vergne, J. P. (2015). Asset divestment as a response to media attacks in stigmatized industries. Strategic Management Journal, 36 (8), 1205-1223. doi:10.1002/smj.2280 [link]
Vergne, J. P., Wernicke, G. W., & Brenner, S. H. B. (2018). Signal incongruence and its consequences: A study of media disapproval and CEO overcompensation. Organization Science, 29 (5), 755-987. doi:10.1287/orsc.2018.1209 [link]
Durand, R., & Vergne, J. P. (2012). The Pirate Organization: Lessons from the Fringes of Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review Publishing.
Vergne, J. P. (2013). The Pirate and the Capitalist: A love story?. Policy, 29 (3), 3-9.
Vergne, J. P. (2020). Decentralized vs. Distributed Organization: Blockchain, Machine Learning and the Future of the Digital Platform. Organization Theory, 1 (4), 263178772097705. doi:10.1177/2631787720977052 [link]
Hsieh, Y., & Vergne, J. P. (2022). The Future of the Web? The Coordination and Early‐Stage Growth of Decentralized Platforms. Strategic Management Journal. doi:10.1002/smj.3455 [link]
Last updated Thursday, 15 September 2022


Research groups

Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Research areas

Organization theory; Strategic management

Research topics

Business strategy; Economic sociology; Institutional logics; Social cognition