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Paper info: Boundarians that Shape Market Actors- A review of the literature on business associations

Title


Boundarians that Shape Market Actors- A review of the literature on business associations

Authors


LivL. H. Fries

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.

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Abstract


Business Associations operate in between markets and politics connecting these to each other through representation, rulemaking and information. In this paper it is demonstrated that there is a strong tendency in the literature to analyse business associations as part of either the political (eg. Doner & Schneider, 2000a, Greenwood, 2002, Streeck, Grote, Schneider, & Visser, 2006) or the market system (eg. Fligstein, 2001, Hall & Soskice, 2001) , thus underestimating the specific quality of being on the boundary. In the paper it is claimed that although there are good reasons for studying markets and politics separately, this nevertheless partly misleading.  It is instead argued that it would be fruitful not to see market and politics as closed systems, but open systems. Secondly, it is suggested that the actorhood of companies and  organizations has to be problematized in order to understand the role and the need for  organizations as business associations. Finally and conclusively, the proposition is made that it is sometimes adequate to analyse markets in terms of agency rather than in terms of predefined actors. The use of the notion of agency can, among other things, show how business association contribute to the creation of multiple agency that has lately been discussed by several authors. (eg. Andersson, Aspenberg, & Kjellberg, 2008, Callon, 2007, Law & Akrich, 1996, Simakova & Neyland, 2008, Sjögren & Helgesson, 2007).