Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (2.31 MB)

Towards a General Theory of Markets: A Social Practice Theory Approach

Download (2.31 MB)
Version 2 2023-09-22, 02:14
Version 1 2021-12-07, 09:25
posted on 2023-09-22, 02:14 authored by Gosling, Martyn James

In recent years new conceptualisations of marketing have been founded in social practice theory. Markets and market boundaries, however, while debated, have not been re-theorised and definitions remain based in the neoclassical economics paradigm. Social practices theory provides a basis for defining markets and market boundaries by practices and their performances by market actors. This thesis advances the debate on a general theory of markets by theorising a new conceptual model of markets as social structures demarcated by nine specific categories of routinised practices described here as parameters. A qualitative study grounded within the social constructionist epistemology was conducted to explore the market practices model, particularly the categories of practices forming the parameters that define market boundaries. The New Zealand mobile telecommunications market provided an opportunity for a situational-specific exploration involving interviews with service providers, users, and regulators as actors performing in the market between 1990 and 2014, triangulated against 26-years of documentary evidence. The research enabled understanding of practices through the comparison of performances between progressive eras in the mobile telephone market in New Zealand. The findings supporting the market practice model not only advance new theory that extends our understanding of markets and market boundaries but also provide context for marketing academics. Furthermore, the model provides new perspectives for business strategy and policy development. The thesis concludes with a summary of contributions to the academic knowledge of markets and an overview of directions for future research and debate.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-ND 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Marketing and International Business


Richard, James; Seo, Yuri