Marking high-technology market evolution through the foci of market stories: the case of local area networks

Vasilios Theoharakis, Veronica Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research suggests that changing consumer and producer knowledge structures play a role in market evolution and that the sociocognitive processes of product markets are revealed in the sensemaking stories of market actors that are rebroadcasted in commercial publications. In this article, the authors lend further support to the story-based nature of market sensemaking and the use of the sociocognitive approach in explaining the evolution of high-technology markets. They examine the content (i.e., subject matter or topic) and volume (i.e., the number) of market stories and the extent to which content and volume of market stories evolve as a technology emerges. Data were obtained from a content analysis of 10,412 article abstracts, published in key trade journals, pertaining to Local Area Network (LAN) technologies and spanning the period 1981 to 2000. Hypotheses concerning the evolving nature (content and volume) of market stories in technology evolution are tested. The analysis identified four categories of market stories - technical, product availability, product adoption, and product discontinuation. The findings show that the emerging technology passes initially through a 'technical-intensive' phase whereby technology related stories dominate, through a 'supply-push' phase, in which stories presenting products embracing the technology tend to exceed technical stories while there is a rise in the number of product adoption reference stories, to a 'product-focus' phase, with stories predominantly focusing on product availability. Overall story volume declines when a technology matures as the need for sensemaking reduces. When stories about product discontinuation surface, these signal the decline of current technology. New technologies that fail to maintain the 'product-focus' stage also reflect limited market acceptance. The article also discusses the theoretical and managerial implications of the study's findings. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-411
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Product Innovation management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002


  • changing consumer
  • producer knowledge
  • structures
  • market evolution
  • sociocognitive processes
  • product markets
  • story-based nature
  • market sensemaking
  • sociocognitive approach
  • evolution
  • high-technology markets


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