Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Industrial Sales People as Market Actors
    (Elsevier, 2009-09) ;
    We develop the concept of boundaries in the context of sales personnel and their counterparts encountering and negotiating these while they undertake work to shape markets and build relationships. Drawing on a case study from production chemistry, we show that market shaping implies a mutual development of relationships, goods and services exchanged, and boundaries. In particular, we show that while relationships can submerge and obscure parts or dimensions of boundaries to other market actors, normal business activities such as testing new products and adapting products to changes in environmental legislation make visible some material dimensions of the exchange object, which can attract attention from other sellers. Visibility finds an expression as those market objects are exchanged, such that objects can be devices by which other actors join in and position themselves and their objects within markets.
      835Scopus© Citations 41
  • Publication
    Constructing and Contesting Markets through the Market Object
    (Elsevier, 2011-08) ;
    This paper focuses on the work that market actors undertake in order to stabilize and de-stabilize market objects. We briefly revisit Igor Ansoff's classic product–market strategy matrix to show how marketing management literature typically equates stability in markets with commodification and inertia. To escape this inertia, marketers often ‘warm up’ or destabilize existing market objects by changing the material bases of the object, for instance in incremental product development. But this ‘warming up’ invites other market actors to also question or destabilize the networks that are supposed to hold the market object in its new (market) space. We utilize archival research to trace one case each of market and product development within the pharmaceutical realm, demonstrating: first, the effort market actors put into ‘cooling down’ and ‘warming up’ market objects; second, how contested such efforts can be; and third, how the object's material attachments may limit its symbolic malleability.
      1605Scopus© Citations 33
  • Publication
    Making incremental innovation tradable in industrial service settings
    (Elsevier, 2016-07) ;
    In many knowledge-intensive business-to-business settings the locus of interaction has shifted from stable, discrete, and articulated products and services to the exchange of somewhat nebulous capacities of problem-solving, innovation and R&D services. In these exchanges, tensions and conflicts between actors can arise in seeking clarity as to what is being exchanged while attempting to keep the interaction open for future adjustments to the scope and content of the exchange. We combine a longitudinal case study of a chemical services firm with Galison's (1999) concept of a trading zone to assess how actors offer, value and exchange incremental innovation. Focusing on the contentious nature of innovation processes, examine how incremental innovation is formatted as a tradable service and argue that trading zones complement relational processes and contractual arrangements by allowing actors to preserve their own logics and expertise pertaining to innovation.
      315Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Technologically captured? How material agency sustains interaction between regulators and industrial actors
    This paper examines how environmental regulation is made operational when it legislates for modifications rather than the banning of products or substances. The continued circulation of such products draws attention to the heterogeneous conditions of their use and allows industry actors to accumulate evidence of the products' polluting effects over time. We find that this agentic quality of materials – including products and sites of application – is a vital and so far largely ignored dimension in the relationship between environmental regulation and innovation. This is captured in a process we term interactive stabilization, which describes how material agency becomes a focus for interactions between regulatory and industry actors. We develop our argument through an in-depth case study of the environmental regulation of production chemistry and identify three interactive processes: formulating regulatory principles; operationalizing these principles through technical documentation and calculation; and incremental innovation as used by chemists to address clients’ varied material problems in production. We trace stabilizing and destabilizing effects across these three processes and draw particular attention to the role of uncertainty in the operationalization of precaution as a regulatory principle. We argue that this uncertainty may lead to a form of regulatory capture that we frame as technological capture. This refers to how industry actors are able to test the limits of regulatory principles and calculations and on occasion contest these through their applied science capabilities.
      191Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    Positioning and Relating: Market Boundaries and the Slippery Identity of the Marketing Object
    (Emerald, 2010-09) ;
    We propose a novel perspective on positioning by identifying goods and services first as market objects and then as marketing objects. As part of their normal marketing activities marketers position market objects and thereby provide means for other market actors to evaluate differences and similarities across an array of goods and services. Hence, marketers help disentangle goods and services in a market space, so formatting them as market objects. At the same time, marketers tend to make references to cultural and material dimensions in the worlds of producing and consuming goods and services, thereby re-entangling these market objects in the worlds beyond the market and re-formatting them as marketing objects. Drawing on an actor-network theoretical lens, we develop our argument to show that positioning refers to many ‘others’; producers and consumers as well as those objects which the market and its calculating frame ignore. We extend our reference beyond market objects through the marketing object to those others, which necessarily are poorly-defined, and which suggest complex, contentious and rich alternatives to a market’s frames of calculation.
    Scopus© Citations 39  588
  • Publication
    Marketing and compromising for sustainability: Competing orders of worth in the North Atlantic
    (Sage Publications, 2016-07-11) ; ;
    The purpose of our article is to propose that compromising is a constitutive characteristic of those marketing systems that entail matters of public interest or concern. In such markets, actors design compromises as they encounter criticisms of and contending justifications for the market's products, as these refer to price, efficiency in production and use, regulatory compliance or ecological sustainability. Tests and justifications are vital in order to determine what is valuable and by which measure. As a theory framework, the economic sociology of conventions provides a basis for assessing these contests, compromises, and justifications over the issue of worth in a marketing context. Through an ethnographic study of the regulated activities of chemicals service companies supporting the upstream petroleum industry, we assess how actors evaluate and justify the market's products and services in this environmentally sensitive setting by means of tests drawing from different orders of worth: the green, the industrial and the market order. Our contributions show that by artful and pragmatic compromising around exchanges, actors in marketing systems can balance several conflicting orders of worth over the question of worth without needing to converge on an overriding institutional logic.
      268Scopus© Citations 35
  • Publication
    Promissories and pharmaceutical patents: agencing markets through public narratives
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-07-25) ;
    We investigate a body of data emanating from the 2008/2009 EU Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry, interpreting the collection of submissions to it as a concerted attempt at market innovation that becomes fraught with challenge and contest. In the pharmaceutical market, interests associated with patient concerns, government budgets, global 'Big Pharma,' and local 'small pharma' coalesce and compete with patent law, technological innovation and drug lifecycles. Our research question is: What role do market narratives play in shaping the market's socio-technical agencements? By introducing market narratives, we focus on the performative effects of temporality and iteration. Our argument is that by acting as (contested) promissories, market narratives contribute to 'agencing' a market, such that actors are engaged continually in juxtaposing and adjusting their representations of it and putting in place those socio-technical agencements that make the markets resemble those narratives. Narrating a market becomes a collective and iterative task of equipping actors to shape the markets that they desire.
      365Scopus© Citations 19
  • Publication
    Buyer-Seller Interactions in Mature Industrial Markets: Blurring the Relational-Transactional Selling Dichotomy
    (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2011) ;
    Sales practitioners continue to come to terms with the selling conditions of mature consumer and business markets. Mature markets display signs such as cost-focused competition, similarity in the perceived functionality of offerings, and multiple suppliers vying for highly knowledgeable and powerful customers. While researchers have noted that in mature industrial markets the relationship to sales personnel can be an important differentiator for buyers, sales research has not specifically examined the consequences of market maturity on the conditions and modes of selling in these markets. In addressing this gap in research, this paper examines the effects of market maturity on the relationships between selling personnel and their customers by presenting case study research from a mature industrial market for chemistry products: the North Sea oil industry.
      926Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    Managing in Conflict: How Actors Distribute Conflict in an Industrial Network
    IMP researchers have examined conflict as a threat to established business relationships and commercial exchanges, drawing on theories and concepts developed in organization studies. We examine cases of conflict in relationships from the oil and gas industry's service sector, focusing on conflicts of interest and resources, and conflict as experienced by actors. Through a comparative case study design, we propose an explanation of how actors manage conflict and manage in conflict given that they tend to value and maintain relationships beyond episodes of exchange. We consider conflicts in relationships from a network perspective, showing that actors experienced these while adapting to changes in their business setting, modifying their roles in that network. By identifying conflict with the organizing forms of relationship and network, we show how actors formulate conflict through pursuing and combining a number of strategies, distributing the conflict across an enlarged network.
      495Scopus© Citations 29