The mutual weaving of obligation networks in mass industrial markets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the growing tendency to depict markets as social institutions, sales work in mass industrial markets remains a neglected area of study. The results of an ethnographic exploration of the US electronics industry reported here suggest that buyers and sellers in industrial markets, in which firms trade with other firms, engage in the mutual weaving of obligation networks. The article presents a theoretical claim that obligation networks provide the social infrastructure on which other market activities, such as information search, unfold, and calls for additional research on this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-58
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Mass markets
  • Sales interactions
  • Sales work
  • Social obligation
  • Sociology of markets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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