New book: Competition
Competition: What it is and why it happens
Editors: Stefan Arora-Jonsson, Nils Brunsson, Raimund Hasse and Katarina Lagerström.
The spread of competition into all areas of society is one of the master trends of modern society. Yet, social scientists have played a surprisingly modest role in the analysis of its implications as the discussion of competition has largely been confined to the narrow context of economic markets. This book opens up competition for the study of social scientists. The central message of the book is that competition seems ubiquitous but it should not be taken for granted or be naturalized as an inevitable aspect of human existence. Its emergence, maintenance, and change are based on institutions and organizational efforts, and a central challenge for social science is to learn more about these processes and their outcomes. With the use of a novel definition of competition, more fundamental questions can be addressed than merely whether or not competition works. How is competition constructed—and by whom? Which institutional and organizational foundations need to be considered? Which behaviours result from competition? What are its consequences? Can competition be removed? And, how do these factors vary with the object of competition—be it money, attention, status, or other scarce and desired objects? The chapters in the book investigate these and more questions in studies of competition among and within schools, universities, multinational corporations, auditors, waste-disposal firms, and fashion designers and users. The chapters are written by scholars from several social science fields: management, organization studies, sociology, anthropology, and education.