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

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz*, Jonathan J. Baker, Katy Mason, Kieran Tierney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: 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. Design/methodology/approach: 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.
Findings: 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.
Originality/value: This paper is the first to consider market-scanning frameworks from a market-shaping perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Business & Industrial Marketing
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1389-1401
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • marketing strategy
  • strategic planning
  • environmental scanning
  • market-shaping
  • market practices
  • market-scanning


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