HALLIDAY, MICHAEL IAN; PHD

                         UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES (AUSTRALIA), 1984

                         BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, MARKETING (0338)

                         The basic viewpoint of this thesis is strongly influenced by concern and preoccupation with theory and
                         explanation. The fundamental purpose is primarily to explain market place functioning. Systems theory is
                         used in an attempt at understanding the 'unitas multiplex' of the market system. Traditional notions of
                         competitive economic behaviour are questioned after a thorough review of the literature pertaining to
                         channels of distribution, organization behaviour and market place behaviour revealed considerable
                         knowledge gaps concerning the structure and functioning of the market place. A theoretical perspective
                         of systems theory and social psychology was developed that inter alia suggests that economic
                         relationships are simply an aspect of broader social relationships and are likely to be characterized by
                         cooperation rather than competitiveness. Within this theoretical framework the market can be thought of
                         as a network of interpersonal relationships. In order to explain market place behaviour the trading,
                         communication and bonds of personal relationships were examined in the wholesale fruit and vegetable
                         market supplying the Sydney, Australia, Metropolitan area. Questions were also asked concerning the
                         demographics of the traders, measures of conflict, cooperation dependence and power. Communication
                         data were analysed by way of network analysis and multidimensional scaling. The other analytical tools
                         used were factor and cluster analysis. The general results of this study indicated that competitive,
                         adversary relationships that economic theory suggest exist in an agricultural market are far less apparent
                         than relationships based on cooperation, a lack of coercion and the use of power. These findings flow
                         from the theoretical framework that was developed. Simulations on the communication data suggest that
                         the conditions required for market participants to be 'fully informed' would not be evident because of the
                         potential instability of such a communication network or system. The view of the market place that
                         emerges is in accord with Arndt's (1979) concept of domesticated markets and the view held by Bent
                         Stidsen (1979) that what gets organized in markets are not just exchanges but human, cooperative
                         relationships. The systems approach adopted for the market place study shows the benefit of using an
                         explanatory model that emphasises the interrelatedness between elements and their environment.

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