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Market-scanning and market-shaping: why are firms blindsided by market-shaping acts?

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz (Graduate School of Management, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Jonathan J. Baker (Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Katy Mason (Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)
Kieran Tierney (School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 15 June 2020

Issue publication date: 15 June 2020




This paper aims to investigate two seminal market-scanning frameworks – the five-forces analysis and PESTEL environmental scanning tool – to assess their readiness for anticipating market-shaping acts.


Drawing on the market-shaping literature that conceptualizes markets as complex adaptive systems, this conceptual paper interrogates the underlying assumptions and “blind spots” in two seminal market-scanning frameworks. The paper showcases three illustrative vignettes in which non-industry actors catalyzed market change in ways that these market-scanning frameworks would not be able to anticipate.


Marketing strategists can be “blindsided” as seminal market-scanning frameworks have either too narrow an interpretation of market change or are too broad to anticipate specific types of market-shaping acts. The assumptions about markets that underpin these market-scanning frameworks contribute to incumbents being slow to realize market-shaping acts are taking place.

Research limitations/implications

The authors extend market-scanning to include a type of managerial myopia that fails to register the socially embedded, systemic nature of complex contemporary markets. Furthermore, the paper provides an “actors-agendas-outcomes” scanning framework that offers awareness of market-shaping acts.


This paper is the first to consider market-scanning frameworks from a market-shaping perspective.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Market Shaping workshop MASHIN-2018 organized by Rod Brodie, Kaj Storbacka, Suvi Nenonen, and Julia Fehrer. The workshop inspired the genesis of the paper. In addition, we are grateful for the helpful comments provided by the anonymous reviewers and the advice and assistance of the Guest Editors of the Special Issue.


Diaz Ruiz, C.A., Baker, J.J., Mason, K. and Tierney, K. (2020), "Market-scanning and market-shaping: why are firms blindsided by market-shaping acts?", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 35 No. 9, pp. 1389-1401.



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