Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level





Jeff B. Murray

Committee Member

Molly Rapert

Second Committee Member

Markus Giesler


Philosphy, religion and theology, Social sciences, Applied sciences, Actor network theory, Consumer culture, Market formation, Market system dynamics, Marketing, Nanotechnology


Nanotechnology is the control, manipulation, and application of matter on an atomic and molecular level. The technology is complex and confusing to consumers, and its long-term safety and effect on the human body, as well as the environment, are unknown. However, for the past decade, nanotechnology has been used to develop consumer products and food with novel and attractive attributes.

Since nanotechnology is still not well known, it is not legitimized; that is, it has not been deemed safe and accepted by society. However, the market for nanotechnology is in the legitimation process. It will take an entire network of key stakeholders playing a specific roles for nanotechnology to legitimize. Specifically, each key stakeholder will align with a certain cultural discourse to frame nanotechnology in a particular way that complements their values.

In Essay 1, I follow previous market system dynamic's literature and combine Actor Network Theory (ANT), Foucault's Discourse on Power and Goffman's Frame analysis to theoretically explore what the actor network for nanotechnology looks like. Four dominate frames are identified: 1) Advancement (i.e., government), 2) Management (i.e., industry), 3) Development (i.e., academia/scientists), and 4) Informant (i.e., NGO).

Essay 2 empirically explores each actor's perspective on the nanotechnology network through a total of 24 interviews. A hermeneutic approach is used to analyze the 208 page text and themes describing each actor's role from a self and other's perspective are discussed. Additionally, three overarching themes (i.e., contradiction, constance, and cutoff) emerge; these themes describe the degree of similarity in how actors view their role in the nanotechnology network compared to how other actor's view that actor's role.

In Essay 3, I bring critical theory into market system's research to better contextualize market formation theories. Specifically, I discuss how critical theory can be used to supplement ANT. I suggest that ANT can be combined with critical theory to better understand the process of translation through exploring conflicts and contradictions among key stakeholders. To show this process, I explore the juxtaposition of economic benefits vs. cultural concerns that has emerged in the nanotechnology marketplace. It is determined that this exploration process can determine why mobilization has not occurred.