Designing the tools of the trade : how corporate social responsibility consultants and their tool-based practices created market shifts
2019-09-05, Gond, Jean-Pascal, Bres, Luc
Combining insights from the sociology of markets and studies of consultants, this article examines the tool-based practices by which market actors enable the agencing of the supply and demand of the market in ways that shape the market’s trajectory. Building on 31 interviews and a rich set of secondary data, we provide an analysis of the development of a market for consultancy products and services for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the province of Quebec (Canada). Through analytical induction we identified six tool-based practices by which consultants contributed to the agencing of the market, and our results show how these practices collectively created market shifts. Our analysis offers new insights into the processes by which consultants’ tool-based practices produce market shifts, embed environmental and social concerns within market mechanisms, and ‘vascularize’ markets.