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2013/2014  KAN-CM_B144  Lock-in or hidden potential? The challenging markets for sustainable products

English Title
Lock-in or hidden potential? The challenging markets for sustainable products

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Changes in course schedule may occur
Thursday 12.35-15.10, week 36-41, 43-47
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Peter Kjær - Department of Organization (IOA)
Course Responsible Trine Pallesen (tp.ioa@cbs.dk)
Administration: Mette Busk Ellekrog(mbe.ioa@cbs.dk)
Main academic disciplines
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Economic and organizational sociology
Last updated on 20-08-2013
Learning objectives
This course provides the students with analytical concepts and critical reflexivity for understanding how markets (goods and actors) are created, normalized and locked-in in complex networks of interactive relations between corporations, regulators, consumers, social groups, claims to legitimacy, economic tools, scientific instruments, and science. Concepts such as lock-in/unlocking, framing/re-framing and qualification bring to our attention that markets for sustainable products are not givens but outcomes of various attempts to organize and shape economic exchanges. Students learn to approach market development for sustainable products as an achievement subject to many conditions and constraints – knowledge is scarce and contested, resources must be mobilized; and different actors’ actions are grounded on anticipatory commitments and visions for the future. With the help of analytical concepts from material sociology of markets and social constructivist theories on markets, students will learn to understand and analyze how sustainable products and processes are facilitated or hindered by the existing technical infrastructure, the regulative arrangement, the construction of value, and the frames of knowledge used to construct and evaluate a particular market regime.

At the end of the course, the student must be able to:
  • Describe, classify, structure, and combine the concepts, theories, methods, and models of the course.
  • Identify problems and discuss the implications thereof for companies working with sustainable products and services
  • Analyse and synthesise concrete problems within sustainable innovation and the making of markets by applying the concepts, theories, methods, and models of the course.
Individual oral exam based on a miniproject (individual or group):
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual
Individual oral exam based on a mini project (individual or group of 2 to 4 students)
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period December/January
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Closed Book
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

This course is part of the group of three electives qualifying you for the “CBS cand.merc./M.Sc. Minor in Sustainable Business'.  You can also take the course without taking the minor.

Sustainable products attempt to reduce carbon (or other) emissions, reduce the use of limited natural resources, and improve work conditions for labour amongst others. Successfully developed in new or modified architectures of value they can provide businesses with new development opportunities. The question is how, and under what conditions is this the case? Why do markets not in a text-book manner automatically shift to new and environmentally more viable products? Many companies face the surprising challenge that innovation is not only about making new or improved technologies and products, but as much about challenging and transforming the lock-in of existing technologies and solutions in our societies. In addition to combatting the lock-ins, new regimes of value ought to be created through a mix of knowledge claims, meaning structures, regulations, standards, and tools for calculation and evaluation. Instead of the lack of science and technologies, it is the inconvenience of transforming existing practices, interests, and revenue streams for individuals and corporations that stands in the way of more sustainable markets. In this course, analytical concepts and theories from the field of constructivist market studies are introduced in order to better understand these complex challenges faced by actors maneuvering in (un)sustainable markets.

Teaching methods
Course activities include lectures, group exercises and student presentations. The lectures and group exercises will be based on the course literature, while the latter will be based on the students’ work with their mini-projects. The mini-projects typically focus on a particular innovation/technology and/or controversy regarding the development and use of these innovations and employ and discuss the theories and literature presented in the course. In the mini project, students demonstrate ability to work with a particular theory or different theories and concepts from the course literature in relation to a topic and material from real-life. In the end of the course, the students will understand the differences between different theoretical approaches to markets and the implications thereof both in analytical and practical terms.
Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Exam 0.20 hours
Preparation 191.5 hours
Further Information
This course is part of the minor in Sustainable Business
Expected literature

 Akrich, M., Callon, M. and Latour, B.  (2002): The key to success in innovation part 1: The art of interessement. International Journal of Innovation Management. 6(2): 187-206.

Azimont, Frank and Luis Araujo (2010). The making of a petrol station and the “on-the-move consumer”: Classification devices and the shaping of markets. Industrial Marketing Management, 39/6, 1010–1018.
Callon, M. 1998. An essay on framing and overflowing: economic externalities revisited by sociology. In M. Callon (ed.): The Laws of the Markets. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers/The Sociological Review. pp. 244-269.
Callon, M. 1986. The Sociology of an Actor-Network: Then case of the Electric Vehicle. In J. Law et al. Mapping the Dynamics of Science and Technology, London: Routledge, pp. 19-34
Callon, M., Méadel, C. and Rabeharisoa, V. (2002). The Economy of qualities. Economy and Society, Vol 31, Number 2, May 2002: 194-217.
Cliath, Alison 2007. Seeing Shades: Ecological and Socially Just Labeling Organization & Environment December 2007 20: 413-439
Doganova, L. And Eyquem-Renault, M (2009). What do business models do?: Innovation devices in technology entrepreneurship. Research Policy. Volume 38, Issue 10, December 2009, pp. 1559-1570.
Garud, R., Jain, S., & Kumaraswamy, A. (2002). Institutional entrepreneurship in the sponsorship of common technological standards: the case of sun microsystems and java. Academy Of Management Journal, 45(1), 196-214.
Garud, R., Gehman, J. and Karnøe, P. (2010). Categorization by association: nuclear technology and emission free electricity. Draft paper. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1615436
Karnøe, Peter; Garud, Raghu 2012. Path Creation: Co-creation of Heterogeneous Resources in the Emergence of the Danish Wind Turbine Cluster.I: European Planning Studies, Vol. 20, Nr. 5, 733-752.
Kjellberg, H. (2008) Market practices and over-consumption. Consumption Markets & Culture, vol. 11, no. 2, 151-167.
Lounsbury, M., Ventresca, M. and Hirsch, P. M. Social movements, field frames and industry emergence: a cultural-political perspective on US recycling. Socio-Economic Review (2003) 1, 71-104.
Neyland, D., & Simakova, E. (2009). How far can we push sceptical reflexivity? An analysis of marketing ethics and the certification of poverty. Journal Of Marketing Management, 25(7/8), 777-794.
Orssatto, Renato J. and Stewart R. Clegg (1999). The Political Ecology of Organizations: Toward a Framework for Analyzing Business-Environment Relationships Organization & Environment September/12: 263-279
Rao, H. (2009). ‘You can’t get people to sit on an explosion!’ The cultural acceptance of car in America. In Rao, H. Market Rebels. pp. 18-42. Princeton University Press: Princeton.
Rao, Hayagreeva  and Simona Giorgi (2006) Code Breaking: How Entrepreneurs Exploit Cultural Logics to Generate Institutional Change Research in Organizational Behavior, Volume 27, 2006, Pages 269–304.
Reijonen. S. And Tryggestad, K. (2012). The dynamic signification of product qualities: on the possibility of ‘greening’ markets. Consumption Markets & Culture 15:2, p. 213-234.
Simakova, E., & Neyland, D. (2008). Marketing mobile futures: assembling constituents and creating compelling stories for an emerging technology. Marketing Theory, 8(1), 91-116.
Unruh, C.G., (2000), Understanding carbon lock-in, Energy Policy 28, 817-830.
Last updated on 20-08-2013