Formalizing Consumer Tribes: Towards a Theorisation of Consumer Constructed Organisations

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Abstract

Marketing theory on consumer tribes explores how these ephemeral collectives can grow into more formal, organisational systems that become subject to the various demands of the market. But how tribal doctrines endure in communities that are formalising their market engagement remains under theorised. To address this, we draw from literature on hybrid organizations and ethnographic data from an art-house cinema tribe that is formalising its operations into what we conceptualize as a “Consumer Constructed Organization” (CCO). We theorise CCOs as dynamic, hybrid organisational forms that balance the doctrines and characteristics of consumer tribes with their role as market actors. In addition to introducing CCOs as a theoretical and empirical point of reference in consumer research literature, we contribute by theorising the ongoing tensions that unravel as tribal doctrines persevere or dissipate in the face of market demands and organisational formalisation.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalMarketing Theory
Early online date10 Apr 2018
DOIs
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2018

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Tribes
Formalization
Consumer research
Hybrid organizations
Market demand
Organizational form
Theorizing
Art
Cinema
Marketing theory

Cite this

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title = "Formalizing Consumer Tribes: Towards a Theorisation of Consumer Constructed Organisations",
abstract = "Marketing theory on consumer tribes explores how these ephemeral collectives can grow into more formal, organisational systems that become subject to the various demands of the market. But how tribal doctrines endure in communities that are formalising their market engagement remains under theorised. To address this, we draw from literature on hybrid organizations and ethnographic data from an art-house cinema tribe that is formalising its operations into what we conceptualize as a “Consumer Constructed Organization” (CCO). We theorise CCOs as dynamic, hybrid organisational forms that balance the doctrines and characteristics of consumer tribes with their role as market actors. In addition to introducing CCOs as a theoretical and empirical point of reference in consumer research literature, we contribute by theorising the ongoing tensions that unravel as tribal doctrines persevere or dissipate in the face of market demands and organisational formalisation.",
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