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How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future$
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Neil Pollock and Robin Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704928.001.0001

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The Business of Technology Expectations

The Business of Technology Expectations

(p.104) Chapter 5 The Business of Technology Expectations
How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future

Neil Pollock

Neil Williams

Oxford University Press

Drawing upon the Sociology of Expectations, the chapter conceptualizes industry analysts as commercial ‘promissory organizations’: prolific producers of future-oriented research. To chart their many kinds of promissory work, the chapter sets out an initial typology that characterizes Gartner’s research outputs according to differences in how they are produced, legitimated, distributed, consumed and achieve influence. This includes: infrastructural knowledge, which typically attempts to define technological field and maps the players within that arena. These classifications are institutionalized, meaning that they exert a powerful and enduring influence but are rendered invisible (‘visible only upon breakdown’); visions let loose refers to more transitory forms of intervention through a stream of provocative signposts that analysts circulate about the state and future development of the industry; and statements and their world describes the differential assessments of the capacity and potential of various suppliers within particular product markets which exercise strong but contested influence on the market.

Keywords:   Sociology of Expectations, self-fulfilling prophecy, infrastructural knowledge, classifications, promissory organizations, promissory work

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