Theorizing temporary spatial clusters and institutional boundary-work in industrial markets

Mark Palmer, Dominic Medway, Gary Warnaby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


To better understand the nature of temporary spatial clusters (TSC’s) in industrial marketing settings, this conceptual paper first provides a theoretical synthesis of spatial understanding from the industrial marketing (IM) and economic geography (EG) fields, focusing particularly on Doreen Massey’s work on relational space. This leads to a conceptual schema for organizing the IM literature in terms of spatiality, and which also helps clarify the ontological nature of TSCs. We then move to introduce the notion of institutional boundary-work, drawing on the work of Thomas Gieryn, and Andrea Brighenti’s examination of territorology, to conceptualize the activities of market actors engaged in the ongoing social accomplishment of TSCs. Such activities, we suggest, involve these actors ‘marching’ boundaries to assume network influence and maintain market order in IM settings. In summary, therefore, our paper addresses two fundamental questions: i) How do we conceptualize the form of TSCs in IM settings? And, ii) what function(s) are TSCs performing (and how is this being undertaken) in IM? The paper closes by providing methodological guidance for how a research agenda on TSCs within IM activity might be developed, followed by a summary of the managerial implications that emerge from our theorizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104–113
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date07 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

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