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2023/2024  KAN-CSOAO1004U  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 cand.merc. and CSOA (CSOA)
Course coordinator
  • José Ossandón - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Organisation
  • Sociology
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 02-06-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Account for different analytical approaches to the organization of markets and digitalization and relate these to each other
  • Analyze empirical examples of markets and digitalization as organized achievements
  • Critically reflect on the tasks and responsibilities involved in organizing markets and digitalization
Course prerequisites
Organizing Markets can only be taken together with Organizing Digitalization as the two courses have a common exam.
The course shares exams with
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

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 Digitalization

Both Organizing Markets (OM) and Organizing Digitalization (OD) discuss recent social scientific developments that challenge how organization and markets are usually understood and analyzed. Drawing extensively on Actor-network Theory, OD 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 Digitalization.
Feedback during the teaching period
There will be several types of pedagogical feedback:

· Classes include group activities to foster discussion and dialogue about relevant course content

· Students can book office hours with their lecturers to discuss relevant course content

· Students receive group supervision to help them producing their course project

· Two joint sessions with Organizing Digitalization to help students with the expectations regarding these course’s assignments. Feed-back will be given to the groups during the workshop and during office hours. One day workshop. It includes trip to a market place. Guided activity. Collective work in which students test their understanding of course concepts and receive direct feedback from teachers and fellow classmates.
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 02-06-2023