liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Constructing Consumer Knowledge in Market Research: An Ethnography of Epistemics
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Market research pervades society. It is an endeavour that connects marketing practice with methods similar to social science. Further, market research results appear as knowledge produced to inform recipients towards making productive business decisions and as a commodity sold to commissioning clients. I suggest that such commissioned knowledge production must be approached taking into account both the making and the marketing of such material. The position of market research between concerns to know through research and to market goods and services, including its own, has been approached differently in academic scholarship. Examples range from criticism against surveillance and manipulation, to calls to defining the benefits of market research techniques for organising markets and societies. Researchers have tried to explain this knowledge making for market research as a construction of objects of knowledge or as a performative phenomenon. This thesis takes an ethnographic and cultural approach to market research work and the researchers that undertake it. Based on fieldwork with Swedish firm Norna (pseudonym) and handbooks from industry organisation ESOMAR, the thesis inquires into the epistemic practices and epistemology of market research, how market researchers consider their work influenced by the relations that they maintain and how ideas and practices in market research inform understanding of commissioned knowledge production.

The thesis consists of four articles dealing with the ideas, actors and processes that engage market researchers. The first article assesses market research industry handbooks and discusses the contribution of performativity approaches in light of this local epistemology. The second article studies how market researchers shape their respondents as part of producing consumer knowledge. The third article assesses how the work processes of market research knowledge production rely on the production and distribution of ignorance to successfully keep respondents and clients at the right certainty interval. The fourth article examines client relations and how market researchers produce materials to satisfy clients as well as shape clients’ preferences and understanding.

The findings of the thesis point to how market research features its own local epistemics and reflexivity on the part of researchers, but also the tensions and ambiguities involved. Market researchers handle commercial pressures and epistemic quandaries in parallel and overlapping relational practice through the production and deployment of both knowledge and ignorance. Dealing with clients and respondents transcends the distinction between the commercial and the informative. The text informs a further understanding of market research, its techniques by means of engaging with how its researchers view this activity. Further it challenges the social study of knowledge production by showing how in this case it includes concerns that are not simplistically commercial or epistemic.

Abstract [sv]

Marknadsundersökningar är en verksamhet i gränslandet mellan marknadsföring och samhällsvetenskapliga forskningsmetoder. Det material som marknadsundersökare tar fram ska både informera kunder och säljas till dem. Denna uppdragsbaserade kunskapsproduktion måste förstås både som kunskaps- och marknadsföringspraktik. Det är en dubbelhet som har hanterats på skilda sätt i tidigare forskning. Kritiker har diskuterat marknadsundersökningar som del av en manipulativ marknadsföringsindustri medan försvarare snarare förordat förbättrande av kunskaper kring människors behov. Skapandet av kunskap i marknadsundersökningar har ömsom setts som en konstruktion och ömsom diskuterats som ett fenomen där beskrivningen formar det som beskrivs.

Avhandlingen tar sig an marknadsundersökningar genom en etnografisk studie av marknadsundersökare och deras arbete. Med utgångspunkt i handböcker från branschorganisationen ESOMAR, samt deltagande observation på det svenska marknadsundersökningsföretaget Norna (pseudonym), diskuteras marknadsundersökningar utifrån en rad fokusområden: Utsagor om kunskap såväl som praktiker i kunskapsproduktion, hur marknadsundersökare ser sin verksamhet i relation till kunder och respondenter samt hur undersökningar görs säljbara och användbare för uppdragsgivare.

Avhandlingen innehåller fyra delstudier som i form av artiklar studerar olika aspekter av marknadsundersökningsarbete. Den första artikeln studerar handböcker från ESOMAR och undersöker vilket bidrag som kan göras vid analys givet att undersökarna själva formulerar idéer om sin verksamhet. Den andra artikeln handlar om hur marknadsundersökare formar deltagare i undersökningar som del av sin produktion av kunskap om konsumenter. Den tredje artikeln går igenom Nornas arbetsprocess med fokus kring hur kunskapsproduktion också handlar om att generera okunskap för att respondenter och kunder ska kunna förstå och delta. Den fjärde artikeln avhandlar relationen till undersökningens beställare och hur marknadsundersökare formar sitt material för att tillfredsställa kunden, samtidigt som deras preferenser formas för att producera ett gott mottagande av undersökningsresultat.

Avhandlingen visar hur marknadsundersökningar karaktäriseras av förutsättningar för kunskapsproduktion och hur marknadsundersökare själva är reflekterande kring sitt arbete. Den ambivalens och de spänningar som kännetecknar marknadsundersökningar som verksamhet diskuteras i termer av hur marknadsundersökare samtidigt hanterar kommersiella såväl som kunskapsteoretiska aspekter av arbetet. Genom att fokusera på hur marknadsundersökningar är en relationell verksamhet visas också hur marknadsundersökare hanterar spänningar mellan vikten av att göra undersökningar som hjälper kunden och att få kunder att köpa undersökningar. Genom att utgå från hur marknadsundersökare själva ser på dessa frågor ger studien en sammanvägd bild av hur uppdragsbaserad kunskapsproduktion handlar om såväl relationsarbete som att skapa kunskap som beskriver marknader och konsumenter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. , p. 105
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 735
Keywords [en]
market research, commissioned knowledge production, epistemics, Sweden, marketing, ESOMAR, ethnography, epistemography, epistemic culture.
Keywords [sv]
marknadsundersökningar, uppdragsbaserad kunskapsproduktion, det epistemiska, marknadsföring, ESOMAR, etnografi, epistemografi, kunskapskultur
National Category
Business Administration Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144816DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-144816ISBN: 9789176853603 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-144816DiVA, id: diva2:1179435
Public defence
2018-03-09, Val, Hus Vallfarten, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-01 Created: 2018-02-01 Last updated: 2018-04-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Epistemologies in the wild: local knowledge and the notion of performativity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Epistemologies in the wild: local knowledge and the notion of performativity
2015 (English)In: Journal of Marketing Management, ISSN 0267-257X, E-ISSN 1472-1376, Vol. 31, no 1-2, p. 16-36Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the indigenous epistemology of market research. Industry textbooks are here taken as examples of commonly held understandings about market research knowledge. They are made the object of an epistemographic investigation of how the production and transfer of market research knowledge is understood within the field itself. Particular interest is directed towards what such local epistemic considerations might imply for our scholarly understanding of how economic theories and models shape markets. Our exploration depicts an indigenous epistemology characterised by a number of interrelated tensions (market research as: description vs. recommendation; art vs. science; information vs. source of inspiration; and distance vs. engagement). The article contends that these traits of the indigenous epistemology are important for understanding how market research participates in shaping markets. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015
Keywords
performativity; actionability; market research; epistemology; epistemography
National Category
Business Administration Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-112252 (URN)10.1080/0267257X.2014.977332 (DOI)000354282600002 ()
Available from: 2014-11-19 Created: 2014-11-19 Last updated: 2018-03-09

Open Access in DiVA

Constructing Consumer Knowledge in Market Research: An Ethnography of Epistemics(1229 kB)30 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1229 kBChecksum SHA-512
bd63755c0707459bc424716b468790f7852828bfa3b3a75c8e69d52a34892dec9c6628e087996c42a6571ebabf3e543b1a05ac29b2e32bf5d291a8b4f74e451f
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf
omslag(2860 kB)13 downloads
File information
File name COVER01.pdfFile size 2860 kBChecksum SHA-512
7f82946d135ff02cb86cd458dd0a5fac6ed4ac817bd82a9e461f438c26eb18b1ed931d39b211dc511133a094499a3dab5eaf4b74aa439bb1f0d21a118b41b538
Type coverMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Authority records BETA

Nilsson, Johan

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Nilsson, Johan
By organisation
Technology and Social ChangeFaculty of Arts and Sciences
Business AdministrationSocial Sciences Interdisciplinary

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 30 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 729 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf