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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Inclusion, Access Costs, and Market Orientation: A Story of Missed Opportunities and Far-Reaching Potential

Published: May 27, 2020


Christian Schaefer, Goethe University Frankfurt; Dominik Hettich, Goethe University Frankfurt; Sebastian Schroth, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nurnberg


Inclusion; Market Orientation; Qualitative Research


This research explores how consumers experience their consumption environment in terms of inclusion—i.e., how they consider and evaluate the chances for a sovereign participation of disabled people—and discovers factors that hinder and enable firms when launching inclusive products on the market. Despite considerable social and economic interest, few studies have examined the interface of disabilities and consumption. Combining ethnography with a grounded, theory-in-use approach, the authors identify the management of physical, digital, psychological, and economic access costs as a crucial lever towards inclusive markets. Such access costs define the degree of inclusion in a given market and their extent is a consequence of the behavior within complex networks of firms, public policy makers, and consumers. Indeed, consumers increasingly demand the proactive management of access costs. The access costs framework defines an opportunity space for managing products and firms’ market orientation in line with heterogeneous abilities and preferences.