The legitimation of peripheral producers’ novelty by external audiences: the contingent role of consultants

Leonardo Corbo*, Raffaele Corrado, Vincenza Odorici

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Are radically novel practices more likely to attract recognition when the evaluating audience is composed of external evaluators? Our baseline argument asserts that radical novelty is more likely to be positively evaluated by an external audience and that peripheral (rather than core) producers have higher incentives to adopt novel practices that depart from tradition. Yet, because peripheral producers often lack the necessary support and legitimacy to promote novelty, audiences play a critical role in recognizing their innovative efforts. How can peripheral producers mitigate the challenges associated with novelty recognition? To answer this question, we explore how peripheral producers’ collaboration with acclaimed consultants affects the process of external audience recognition in the context of the Italian wine field from 1997 to 2006. Our findings suggest that radical novelty is positively received by an external audience composed of critics, although we do not find a significant difference between core and peripheral producers. However, external audiences are more open to recognizing peripheral producers’ use of novel practices when they collaborate with well-connected consultants. We find that the use of central consultants produces a “boosting” effect that accentuates the differences between evaluations of peripheral producers who embrace novelty and evaluations of those that follow the tradition. Our study thus advances theory by providing empirical evidence of the value of considering third-party actors such as consultants, who sit at the nexus between the agency required for innovation and external audiences’ recognition of novelty, when studying novelty evaluation and recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Generation, Recognition and Legitimation of Novelty
EditorsGino Cattani, Dirk Deichmann, Simone Ferriani
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781801179973
ISBN (Print)9781801179980
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
ISSN (Electronic)0733-558X


  • Audience
  • Evaluation
  • Consultants
  • Novelty
  • Periphery
  • Recognition
  • Wine


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