Socio-Cognitive Dynamics in a Product Market

University of Illinois Dept. of Business Admin. Working Paper No. 99-0106

Posted: 4 Oct 1999

See all articles by José Antonio Rosa

José Antonio Rosa

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration

Joseph F. Porac

Emory University - Department of Organization & Management

Jelena Spanjol

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Business Administration (Munich School of Management)

Michael S. Saxon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 1999

Abstract

This paper explores the origins and evolution of product markets from a socio-cognitive perspective. Product markets are defined as socially-constructed knowledge structures (i.e., product conceptual systems) that are shared among produces and consumers--sharing that allows consumers and producers to interact in the market. Our fundamental thesis is that product markets are neither imposed nor orchestrated by producers or consumers, but evolve from producer-consumer interaction feedback effects. Starting as unstable, incomplete, and disjointed conceptual systems held by market actors--which are revealed in the cacophony of uses, claims, and product standards that characterize emerging product markets--we propose that product markets become coherent as a result of consumers and producers making sense of one another's behaviors. We further argue that the sensemaking process is revealed in the stories that consumer magazines and producers tell one another in published media, such as industry newspapers and consumer magazines, which we use as date sources. Specific hypothesis pertaining to the use of product category labels in published sources and the acceptability of different product category members throughout the development process are tested for the minivan market between 1982 and 1988. Our findings suggest that category labels for emerging and pre-existing categories. Our findings also show that as stabilization occurred around a category prototype, the acceptability of particular models changed without any physical changes to the models.

JEL Classification: L21

Suggested Citation

Rosa, José Antonio and Porac, Joseph Francis Allen and Spanjol, Jelena and Saxon, Michael S., Socio-Cognitive Dynamics in a Product Market (April 1999). University of Illinois Dept. of Business Admin. Working Paper No. 99-0106. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=163753

José Antonio Rosa (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
110 David Kinley, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-5160 (Phone)
217-244-7969 (Fax)

Joseph Francis Allen Porac

Emory University - Department of Organization & Management ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-9738 (Phone)

Jelena Spanjol

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Business Administration (Munich School of Management) ( email )

Kaulbachstr. 45
Munich, DE 80539
Germany

Michael S. Saxon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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