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Collective market-making efforts at an engineering conference


  • Möllering, Guido


This paper advances research on institutional work in market constitution processes. I show how purposive, coordinated action is organized under conditions of uncertainty through practices of rendering irreducible uncertainty tolerable. Building on recent developments in institutional theories of organization, market sociology, and the concept of field-configuring events, I analyze collective market-making efforts at a conference on the next generation of lithography technology for manufacturing semiconductors. I use original documents and 76 field interviews in a qualitative analysis to identify and understand the main practices of collective institutional work at the conference, along with the immediate consequences of these practices. My findings show that the overall purpose of the conference was to generate momentum toward commercialization, in spite of remaining uncertainty, through practices of bootstrapping, roadmapping, leader-picking, and issue-bracketing. These are practices of ignoring, denying, displacing, and suspending uncertainty, respectively. I contribute important clarifications of the meaning of purposive action and agency in institutional work and I advance actiontheoretical explanations of market constitution processes by identifying activities involved in shaping a market that is still in the making.

Suggested Citation

  • Möllering, Guido, 2010. "Collective market-making efforts at an engineering conference," MPIfG Discussion Paper 10/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beckert, Jens, 2000. "Economic sociology in Germany," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 1(2), pages 2-7.
    2. Geroski, Paul, 2003. "The Evolution of New Markets," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248896.
    3. Michel Callon & Fabian Muniesa, 2005. "Economic markets as calculative collective devices," Post-Print halshs-00087477, HAL.
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