Status games in Wine industry .pdf

Status games 151 by contrast high status fi rms gain

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By contrast, high-status fi rms gain in uence through the celebrity of their winemakers, the status of their fi rm, and the performance of fi rm members. Through that in uence, they gain power over the distributors and retailers because retailers want to be associated with high-status brands. This associa- tion or referent power can reduce the power of distributors and retailers within the system relative to the producers. Beyond referent power, market-driving producers exercise expert power. When a winemaker appears at a retailer, he or she plays the role of the expert. Winemakers possess enormous cultural capital, especially if they work for a successful fi rm. Distributors, retailers, and consumers with less cultural capital admire winemakers for their unique knowledge (Bourdieu 1984). In addition, when visiting the wineries, these groups confront an aura of wealth, sophistication, and generosity. This appreciation of the fi ner things and few material concerns generate further symbolic and cultural capital for the fi rm. As such, symbolic capital becomes a resource for gaining in uence. Prior studies have examined brand status and explored retail theater (e.g., Benjamin and Podolny 1999; Podolny 1993; Sherry et al. 2001; Dion and Borraz 2017). Our analysis suggests, however, that market-driving fi rms use the distribu- tion system to enhance their symbolic capital and gain greater in uence over those with less symbolic capital distributors, retailers, and consumers ultimately to advance their vision and in uence the evolution of the market. Winning and Maintaining Status Through the process we have described, fi rms battle for rec- ognition and in uence. This rivalry differs signi fi cantly from competition among market-driven fi rms, for which consumers determine relative success, often based on some objective measure such as product quality. By contrast, social consensus determines winners and losers in a status game. Winners may produce wines that some consumers fi nd unappealing but are regarded as excellent, even extraordinary. Losers may make fi ne, even excellent wines in the eyes of some consumers that are cast as inferior. A distinct logic separates winners and losers, one that is based on social rivalry rather than the market. In social rivalry, multiple outcomes are possible (Salganik, Dodds, and Watts 2006). For many winemakers, such unpredictability is frightening. They devote enormous effort to create extraordinary wines, but those efforts may have little or no impact on a wine s status. As winemaker Yves said, What we do in the cellar, what we do in the vineyards, what we do is the best of all of us, but it s a demon on the market because we don t control it. Status and Power Winners and losers emerge from this battle for status. Losers labor in obscurity, and many struggle fi nancially (Scott Morton and Podolny 2002). Winners thrive. Critics describe successful wines using the same terms as those describing great works of art. These wines command premium prices, their winemakers
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