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2018/2019  KAN-CSOLO2016U  Organizing Markets

English Title
Organizing Markets

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn, Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • José Ossandón - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Organization
  • Sociology
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-06-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Account for different conceptual understandings of markets and technologies produced in recent social science, and relate these to each other
  • Account for the performative effects of economics and accounting technologies
  • Analyze empirical examples of markets and technologies as organized achievements
  • Critically reflect on the implications of theories of organizing markets and technologies for managing organizations
  • Critically reflect on the role of markets as organized to solve social or environmental problems
Course prerequisites
Organizing Markets can only be taken together with Organizing Technologies as the two courses have a common exam.
The course shares exams with
Course content and structure

Markets are one of the most central social institutions in contemporary society. Most firms spend a great deal of resources trying to understand markets and developing strategies to actively shape them. Markets are increasingly used as benchmark to compare and reform the public sector, and markets are even constructed in order to solve pressing collective concerns, such as carbon pollution. Markets are also at the center of some of the most heated contemporary moral and ethical controversies today. This course is informed by both a vibrant recent literature from sociology and other social scientific disciplines which have made markets their object of analysis and by research conducted on the context of CBS’ Market and Valuation Cluster. An important element shared by the different streams of recent studies is that they, on their own ways, emphasize the organized character of markets. Markets are not spontaneous entities, but practical organizational achievements. The course will combine different theories and case studies in order to introduce students to contemporary methods to analyze how markets are organized.


The main argument developed in the course is that the traditional distinction between markets and organization is challenged and problematized by both contemporary research on markets and by new forms in which markets are practically used. This argument will be unfolded in three main parts. The first part of the course discusses different approaches to the study of markets as organized phenomenon. It will review the sociological approach developed by authors such as Fligstein that studies markets as “social fields”, the view developed in organization studies where markets are seen as a type of partial organization; and the perspective from science and technology studies that studies markets as socio-technical achievements. The second part reviews recent work that pays attention to how valuation is organized in markets. The discussion will focus on three key problems: competition, price, and the singularization of goods. Finally, the third part discusses the current proliferation of markets that are designed to solve collective problems. The lectures of this part introduce a brief review of how the expectations of what markets can or should do has changed in recent decades and case studies that analysis recent challenges opened by the use of markets to deal with matters of collective concerns.


Overlap with the course Organizing Technologies

Both Organizing Markets (OM) and Organizing Technologies (OT) discuss recent social scientific developments that challenge how organization and markets are usually understood and analyzed. Drawing extensively on Actor-network Theory, OT discusses and analyses the role of management technologies (such as accounting, budget, marketing, and strategy tools) in shaping and transforming the practice of contemporary organization. OM uses recent developments in economic sociology and science and technology studies that challenge the traditional dichotomy between markets and organization. It presents work that analyzes, in different forms, how markets are organized.

Description of the teaching methods
Dialogue-based lectures and case discussions and one workshop where students are expected to work in groups and present their findings in class. The course ends by a joint summary class with Organizing Technologies
Feedback during the teaching period
Feed-back will be given to the groups during the workshop and during office hours.
Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Preparation/reading/group work 123 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature

Ahrne, G., P. Aspers and N. Brunsson (2014). The organization of markets, Organization Studies: 0170840614544557.

Breslau, D. (2011). What Do Market Designers Do When They Design Markets? Economists as Consultants to the Redesign of Wholesale Electricity Markets in the United States. Social Knowledge in the Making (2011): 381-403.

Fligstein, N. (2001). The Architecture of Markets – An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fourcade, M. (2011). “Price and Prejudice: On Economics, and the Enchantment/​Disenchantment of Nature”. In Beckert, J. and P. Aspers (eds.) The Worth of Goods. Valuation and Pricing in the Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Garcia-Parpet, M.F. (2007): “The Social Construction of a Perfect Market – The Strawberry Auction at Fontaines-en-Sologne”, in MacKenzie, D., F. Muniesa and L. Siu “Do Economists Make Markets”, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American journal of sociology, 481-510.

Mirowski, P. (2013). Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste. How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown. London: Verso.

Zelizer, V. A. R. (1985). Pricing the priceless child: The changing social value of children. Princeton University Press.

Last updated on 21-06-2018