Institutional work at field-configuring events: shaping industry change within sustainable transitions

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Adopting an institutional approach from organization studies, this paper explores the role of key actors on “purposeful governance for sustainability” (Smith, Voss et al. 2010: 444) through the case of smart metering in the UK. Institutions are enduring patterns in social life, reflected in identities, routines, rules, shared meanings and social relations, which enable, and constrain, the beliefs and behaviours of individual and collective actors within a field (Thornton and Ocasio 2008). Large-scale external initiatives designed to drive regime-level change prompt ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ to perform ‘institutional work’ – “purposive action aimed at creating, maintaining and disrupting institutions” (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006).
Organization scholars are giving increasing attention to ‘field-configuring events’ (FCEs) which provide social spaces for diverse organizational actors to come together to collectively shape socio-technical pathways (Lampel and Meyer 2008). Our starting point for this exploratory study is that FCEs can offer important insights to the dynamics, politics and governance of sustainability transitions. Methodologically, FCEs allow us to observe and “link field evolution at the macro-level with individual action at the micro-level” (Lampel and Meyer, 2008: 1025).
We examine the work of actors during a series of smart metering industry forums over a three-year period (industry presentations [n= 77] and panel discussions [n= 16]). The findings reveal new insights about how institutional change unfolds, alongside technological transitions, in ways that are partial and aligned with the interests of powerful incumbents whose voices are frequently heard at FCEs.
The paper offers three contributions. First, the study responds to calls for more research examining FCEs and the role they play in transforming institutional fields. Second, the emergent findings extend research on institutional work by advancing our understanding of a specific site of institutional work, namely a face-to-face inter-organizational arena. Finally, in line with the research agenda for innovation studies and sustainability transitions elaborated by Smith et al (2010), the paper illustrates how actors in a social system respond to, translate, and enact interventions designed to promote industrial transformation, ultimately shaping the sustainability transition pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions - Lund, Sweden
Duration: 13 Jun 201115 Jun 2011

Conference

Conference2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions
Abbreviated titleIST 2011
CountrySweden
CityLund
Period13/06/1115/06/11

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sustainability
industry
event
institutional change
governance
organization
social space
role play
macro level
micro level
social system
field research
entrepreneur
Social Relations
regime
innovation
politics

Cite this

Burke, G., & Knight, L. (2011). Institutional work at field-configuring events: shaping industry change within sustainable transitions. Abstract from 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Lund, Sweden.
Burke, Gary ; Knight, Louise. / Institutional work at field-configuring events : shaping industry change within sustainable transitions. Abstract from 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Lund, Sweden.
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author = "Gary Burke and Louise Knight",
year = "2011",
language = "English",
note = "2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, IST 2011 ; Conference date: 13-06-2011 Through 15-06-2011",

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Burke, G & Knight, L 2011, 'Institutional work at field-configuring events: shaping industry change within sustainable transitions' 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Lund, Sweden, 13/06/11 - 15/06/11, .

Institutional work at field-configuring events : shaping industry change within sustainable transitions. / Burke, Gary; Knight, Louise.

2011. Abstract from 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Lund, Sweden.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

TY - CONF

T1 - Institutional work at field-configuring events

T2 - shaping industry change within sustainable transitions

AU - Burke, Gary

AU - Knight, Louise

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - Adopting an institutional approach from organization studies, this paper explores the role of key actors on “purposeful governance for sustainability” (Smith, Voss et al. 2010: 444) through the case of smart metering in the UK. Institutions are enduring patterns in social life, reflected in identities, routines, rules, shared meanings and social relations, which enable, and constrain, the beliefs and behaviours of individual and collective actors within a field (Thornton and Ocasio 2008). Large-scale external initiatives designed to drive regime-level change prompt ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ to perform ‘institutional work’ – “purposive action aimed at creating, maintaining and disrupting institutions” (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006).Organization scholars are giving increasing attention to ‘field-configuring events’ (FCEs) which provide social spaces for diverse organizational actors to come together to collectively shape socio-technical pathways (Lampel and Meyer 2008). Our starting point for this exploratory study is that FCEs can offer important insights to the dynamics, politics and governance of sustainability transitions. Methodologically, FCEs allow us to observe and “link field evolution at the macro-level with individual action at the micro-level” (Lampel and Meyer, 2008: 1025). We examine the work of actors during a series of smart metering industry forums over a three-year period (industry presentations [n= 77] and panel discussions [n= 16]). The findings reveal new insights about how institutional change unfolds, alongside technological transitions, in ways that are partial and aligned with the interests of powerful incumbents whose voices are frequently heard at FCEs. The paper offers three contributions. First, the study responds to calls for more research examining FCEs and the role they play in transforming institutional fields. Second, the emergent findings extend research on institutional work by advancing our understanding of a specific site of institutional work, namely a face-to-face inter-organizational arena. Finally, in line with the research agenda for innovation studies and sustainability transitions elaborated by Smith et al (2010), the paper illustrates how actors in a social system respond to, translate, and enact interventions designed to promote industrial transformation, ultimately shaping the sustainability transition pathway.

AB - Adopting an institutional approach from organization studies, this paper explores the role of key actors on “purposeful governance for sustainability” (Smith, Voss et al. 2010: 444) through the case of smart metering in the UK. Institutions are enduring patterns in social life, reflected in identities, routines, rules, shared meanings and social relations, which enable, and constrain, the beliefs and behaviours of individual and collective actors within a field (Thornton and Ocasio 2008). Large-scale external initiatives designed to drive regime-level change prompt ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ to perform ‘institutional work’ – “purposive action aimed at creating, maintaining and disrupting institutions” (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006).Organization scholars are giving increasing attention to ‘field-configuring events’ (FCEs) which provide social spaces for diverse organizational actors to come together to collectively shape socio-technical pathways (Lampel and Meyer 2008). Our starting point for this exploratory study is that FCEs can offer important insights to the dynamics, politics and governance of sustainability transitions. Methodologically, FCEs allow us to observe and “link field evolution at the macro-level with individual action at the micro-level” (Lampel and Meyer, 2008: 1025). We examine the work of actors during a series of smart metering industry forums over a three-year period (industry presentations [n= 77] and panel discussions [n= 16]). The findings reveal new insights about how institutional change unfolds, alongside technological transitions, in ways that are partial and aligned with the interests of powerful incumbents whose voices are frequently heard at FCEs. The paper offers three contributions. First, the study responds to calls for more research examining FCEs and the role they play in transforming institutional fields. Second, the emergent findings extend research on institutional work by advancing our understanding of a specific site of institutional work, namely a face-to-face inter-organizational arena. Finally, in line with the research agenda for innovation studies and sustainability transitions elaborated by Smith et al (2010), the paper illustrates how actors in a social system respond to, translate, and enact interventions designed to promote industrial transformation, ultimately shaping the sustainability transition pathway.

M3 - Abstract

ER -

Burke G, Knight L. Institutional work at field-configuring events: shaping industry change within sustainable transitions. 2011. Abstract from 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Lund, Sweden.