Institutional maintenance work and power preservation in business exchanges: Insights from industrial supplier workshops

Mark Palmer, Geoff Simmons, Pamela K. Robinson , Andrew Fearne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
356 Downloads (Pure)


This paper aims to offer new theoretical and empirical insights into power dynamics in an industrial supplier workshop setting. Theoretically, it advances an institutional perspective on supplier workshops as an important venue in managing, preserving and instituting industrial market power. Based on a detailed ethnographic analysis of an industrial workshop setting, this article investigates the institutional maintenance work of Retail Co. in preserving the power dynamics of market dominance in business exchanges and market structures. Our findings revealed three previously unreported insights into the subtle, but nonetheless pervasive power from institutional maintenance work in an industrial workshop setting. First, the institutional workshop work comprised a cultural performance; constituting socialization practice through a performance game, the power of numbers in field comprehension and an award ceremony. Second, the institutional workshop work mobilized projective agency, stipulating, directing and appealing for the instituting of distinct market rules and collective identities. Finally, the institutional workshop work increases supplier docility and utility via the regulative technologies-of-the-self to enhance business planning, operations and market decision-making practice, without necessarily being seen to be disciplinarian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date01 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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