Consumer Entrepreneurship and Market Emergence
How do markets emerge and change? Recently, this question has provoked considerable attention among consumer culture researchers (Dolbec and Fischer 2015; Giesler 2008; Goulding and Saren 2007; Martin and Schouten 2014; Sandicki and Ger 2010; Scaraboto and Fischer 2013). An interesting, if predictable, commonality among these works is the identification of a role for entrepreneurship in driving and steering market dynamics. Despite the acknowledgment of entrepreneurial activities by consumers, existing research paints an incomplete picture of how such entrepreneurship unfolds and contributes to the emergence of new markets. This study turns a spotlight on entrepreneurship in the context of consumption-driven market emergence (Martin and Schouten 2014). Tapping into current entrepreneurship theory and with rich historical data chronicling the emergence of the American organic foods industry, the study reveals a critical piece of the picture: a kind of entrepreneurship, not previously understood, consisting of often small acts of innovation and investment that are highly distributed throughout one or more populations, the cumulative effects of which lead to the genesis of new markets.
Co-authors: Hedon Blakaj and Diane M. Martin, Aalto University
John W. Schouten is a Professor of Social Enterprise at Memorial University and Canada Research Chair (tier-1) nominee in that discipline. He specializes in studies of consumer culture and market dynamics using ethnography and other qualitative methods. His past work spans areas of consumer identity, consumption communities, market emergence, alternative research methodologies, and environmental sustainability and human wellbeing. He now turns his attention to understanding and facilitating social enterprise. His research appears in marketing journals including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Consumption Markets & Culture and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. He is co-author of the book Sustainable Marketing. He has authored two novels Notes from the Lightning God and The Fine Art of Self-Arrest and has published short fiction and poetry in various journals, magazines, and anthologies.