Hype Cycles of the Digital Economy: Productisation of Expectations and the Gartner Hype Cycle

Neil Pollock, Robin Williams, Najmeh Hafezieh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


'Hype cycles' are an increasing focus for those interested in the growth of the digital economy. While scholars have been good at explaining their adverse and generative effects, they have given less attention to how hype cycles extend specific forms of analysis and evaluation that transform technology investment and the digital economy. This article supplements the increasing interest in hype cycles by focusing on them not just as a shared cultural and social understanding of technical change but also as 'products'. Specifically, we investigate how market actors have been able to codify and expand abstract theories of hype cycles as part of advisory services sold to technology investors. We conduct a qualitative study of the Gartner hype cycle. This predictive device helps technology investors decide whether to take the risks of early adoption of a promising technology or wait until its prospects are more established. Bringing together work from the Sociology of Expectations and Economic Sociology, we investigate how the 'productisation' of expectations reshapes hype and investment advice. The paper contributes to debates about the way expectations shape the cyclical movements of the digital economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE)
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021

Cite this