Imperial College London


Business School

Junior Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 2683s.otner




288aBusiness School BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

2 results found

Otner SMG, 2017, Older, but wiser? “The Matthew Effect” at 50: introduction to the Dialog, Journal of Management Inquiry, ISSN: 1056-4926

Merton’s famous essay on recognition and rewards in scientific careers, “The Matthew Effect in Science”, has reached middleage. This Dialog reflects on established research that separates the origins and the consequences of status, and recentcontributions regarding the constraints of status advantages. In doing so, this collection responds to a growing scholarlydebate about the returns to high status. The authors engage with Merton’s cumulative status advantage, and go further toidentify downsides of increased recognition both for individuals and for the status system itself. The six articles in this Dialogevaluate the progress made towards Merton’s proposed research agenda and highlight opportunities for its extension.


Otner SMG, 2017, Near-winners in status competitions: neglected sources of dynamism in theMatthew Effect, Journal of Management Inquiry, ISSN: 1056-4926

Current research on status hierarchy dynamics focuses on the potential for, and constraints to, individual mobility. Inthis essay, I argue that Merton’s Matthew Effect incorrectly categorizes activity below a status threshold as linear. Thismisspecification calls into question existing models of competitions for social status. I argue for an improved theory of statustournaments as asymmetric, non-binary, and agentic. Through that new perspective, I raise questions for the legitimacy andpower of stratifying institutions.


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