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Understanding Market Formation Dynamics 

Why do some new markets succeed, while others falter and fail? How can we analyze, understand, measure and influence these processes? Understanding such questions is critical for those engaged in transforming markets and is of particular societal importance in a time of pressing global challenges requiring rapid shifts towards sustainability. Markets are social arenas allowing the production and sale of goods or services. They are also complex systems whose formation is governed by multiple feedback effects, long time delays, and nonlinear responses to inputs. This research program analyzes the dynamic complexity of market formation and societal change drawing on multiple methods including those from systems science, providing insights into specific contexts in particular focused on sustainability-related settings (e.g. alternative mobility; nutritious food, gender segregation and other inequity) as well as for organisational theory and strategy research in general. We identify high-leverage strategies - individual and collective across sectors -  for market formation and transformation. We also develop processes and tools that managers can use to accelerate learning within and across organisations and help us move towards a more sustainable future.

Our research uses the system as the lens of observation, meaning that we study the various forms of interdependencies among actors working through both social and material adoption challenges and how they dynamically produce the complex dynamic behaviour of market formation, in successful cases, and market failure, in unsuccessful cases. We study specific cases of market formation and develop insights about coordination and collective action in general, as well as study the role of consumer choice and category formation in new settings.

We study actors’ over-time interactions using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods relevant to the research question at hand. In combining empirical analysis with computational modeling, we examine counterfactual cases, hypothesizing and testing the conditions under which stakeholders can overcome barriers (thresholds) to market formation.

We're a small team based at emlyon business school, working within the wider networks of scholars focusing on market formation problems (such as sustainable mobility and equitable nutritious food), market formation theory, sustainability science, and system science/ systems dynamics.

A collection of learning tools, courses and relevant initiatives related to market formation dynamics, sustainability, and system dynamics and systems science.

Contact us 

We work closely with industry partners, academics and students with ongoing opportunities to collaborate. Please contact us to find out more about current research projects, partnerships and courses.

Please contact us to find out more about current research projects, research engagements, or courses. 


Ask about past, current, and future research projects.


Explore insights produced from our research and the research engagements through which we work within and with organizations.


Look up our systems thinking  courses or express interest to participate in a research project.

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