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Organizational buying as muddling through: A practice–theory approach


  • Makkonen, Hannu
  • Olkkonen, Rami
  • Halinen, Aino


This study provides a complementary perspective to conventional rational models of organizational buying behavior (OBB) by applying Lindblom's (1959, 1979) notions of muddling through and disjointed incrementalism to OBB. In doing so, the study develops a novel practice–theory framework of the organizational buying process. The qualitative field study of a family-owned food-processing company is based on this practice–theory framework. The results suggest that OBB is a boundedly rational exercise in muddling through, rather than a completely rational and well-planned goal-oriented process. OBB involves interplay between various enduring structures and various situational events on different contextual levels. The study provides empirical evidence of the validity of the notions of muddling through and disjointed incrementalism, and their relevance to the organizational buying processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Makkonen, Hannu & Olkkonen, Rami & Halinen, Aino, 2012. "Organizational buying as muddling through: A practice–theory approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 773-780.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:65:y:2012:i:6:p:773-780
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2010.12.015

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Silva, Francisca & Majluf, Nicolás, 2008. "Does family ownership shape performance outcomes?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 609-614, June.
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    4. Johnston, Wesley J. & Lewin, Jeffrey E., 1996. "Organizational buying behavior: Toward an integrative framework," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-15, January.
    5. Moller, K. E. Kristian, 1985. "Research strategies in analyzing the organizational buying process," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 3-17, February.
    6. Henry Mintzberg, 1978. "Patterns in Strategy Formation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(9), pages 934-948, May.
    7. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
    8. Pettigrew, Andrew M., 1997. "What is a processual analysis?," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 337-348, December.
    9. Halinen, Aino & Tornroos, Jan-Ake, 2005. "Using case methods in the study of contemporary business networks," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(9), pages 1285-1297, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nordin, Fredrik & Ravald, Annika, 2016. "Managing relationship gaps: A practitioner perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 2490-2497.


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