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Paper info: Market technologies and the configuration of market actors


Market technologies and the configuration of market actors


Hans Kjellberg
Stockholm School of Economics
Hans Kjellberg , Katarina Aspenberg and
Per Andersson
Stockholm School of Economics
Per Andersson

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.


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This paper explores how the introduction of a new technical device alters exchange practice andredistributes agential properties among the actors involved in an on-going exchange relationship. Wepresent two empirical scenes from a study of the introduction of an e-procurement system at ChesterSweden, a subsidiary of a large multinational transport and logistics company. The two scenes areused to discuss some of the difficulties related to the conceptualisation of actors and agency whenstudying market practice. We relate our analysis to discussions and descriptions of actors and agencyin sociology and in IMP research. We suggest that practical interaction can be fruitfully regarded as aprocess of interdefinition involving a sequence of prescriptions and subscriptions between actingentities, or actants. In this way, no restrictions are placed on the configuration of the acting entities.We also suggest that this configuration (of actants) is the result of a process of association andpunctualisation, through which many elements are made to act as one. We conclude the paper with adiscussion of three issues connected to the variability of actors.Keywords: market practice; market agency; market actors; actants, actor configuration