Strategic responses to fuel cell hype and disappointment


Konrad, K.E. and Markard, J. and Ruef, A. and Truffer, B. (2012) Strategic responses to fuel cell hype and disappointment. Technological forecasting and social change, 79 (6). 1084 - 1098. ISSN 0040-1625

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Abstract:This article investigates the interplay of expectation dynamics and innovation processes at the level of organizations and at the innovation system level. We examine how different kinds of organizations contributed and responded to a recent hype and disappointment cycle in the field of stationary fuel cells. Among others, we trace how innovation and discourse activities changed and we explain the observed differences in strategic responses. We show that the sensitivity of organizations to expectation dynamics depends on at least three factors: the strategic embedding of the new technology, the organization's dependence on external legitimacy and its role in the innovation system. Moreover, we show that – in their aggregation – strategic responses affected the level of the technological innovation system as well. Not only did the pace and direction of innovation activities change, but structures such as actor constellations and institutions were also modified. Our study thus provides insights into the interplay of expectation and innovation dynamics, which is important for our understanding of larger transformation processes, e.g. toward more sustainable modes of energy supply.

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