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Modern Slavery: The Role of Prototypes in Categorizing Extreme Labor Exploitation

Caruana, Robert; Crane, Andrew; Ingram, Claire


Chair in Business Ethics/Responsible Business

Andrew Crane


Prototypes have long been acknowledged as playing a critical role in the emergence and consolidation of new organizational and market categories. However, the precise forms, characteristics, and effects of prototypes in the categorization process remain unclear. We address this gap by conducting a discourse analysis of different stakeholder contributions to the emergence of the new legal category of 'modern slavery' in the context of the UK's Modern Slavery Act, 2015. Drawing on a political agency view of categorization, our findings reveal that contrary to existing research, the role of prototypes in categorization is heterogeneous. Our analysis identifies four different general forms of prototype, namely typifying, mobilizing, familiarizing, and scoping prototypes, each of which are deployed by different actors to achieve specific goals in the emergence and consolidation of the new category.


Caruana, R., Crane, A., & Ingram, C. (2018). Modern Slavery: The Role of Prototypes in Categorizing Extreme Labor Exploitation. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018(1),

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Conference Name Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
Start Date Nov 13, 2018
End Date Nov 13, 2018
Acceptance Date Jul 9, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 9, 2018
Publication Date Jul 9, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 10, 2019
Journal Academy of Management Proceedings
Print ISSN 0065-0668
Electronic ISSN 2151-6561
Publisher Academy of Management
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2018
Issue 1
Article Number 14065
Public URL
Publisher URL


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