Niches and networks: Explaining network evolution through niche formation processes
Hermans, F.L.P. ; Apeldoorn, D.F. van; Stuiver, M. ; Kok, K. - \ 2013
Research Policy 42 (2013)3. - ISSN 0048-7333 - p. 613 - 623.
sustainable development - multilevel perspective - environmental cooperatives - technological transitions - sociotechnical transition - social-structure - green niches - management - innovation - systems
This paper uses the evolutionary perspective of Strategic Niche Management to investigate and explain the network dynamics of a collaborative innovation network. Building upon the theories of socio-technical transitions, we link macro-level network dynamics to the micro-level niche processes of vision building and experimentation. The paper describes a method to construct longitudinal two-mode affiliation networks and this method is illustrated with an analysis of the network properties of an agricultural niche in the Netherlands over a period of 15 years. Results show how a successful niche grows more connected, even when it grows in size. We found three distinct phases during which the network composition is more or less stable. Powerful actors are able to shape the composition of the network, either through providing the financial resources or through creating “legislative space” for the network to grow.
Normative contestation in transitions ‘in the making’: Animal welfare concerns and system innovation in pig husbandry
Elzen, B. ; Geels, F. ; Leeuwis, C. ; Mierlo, B. van - \ 2011
Research Policy 40 (2011)2. - ISSN 0048-7333 - p. 263 - 275.
sociotechnical transition - social-movements - dynamics - transformation - evolutionary - performance
Previous studies of system innovations mainly focused on historical cases that were driven by commercial motivations of pioneers and entrepreneurs. This article investigates a system innovation in the making that is driven by normative concerns, such as sustainability or animal welfare, initially formulated by outsiders like special-interest groups. Our central research question is: How, when and why is normative contestation of existing regimes effective in influencing the orientation of transitions in the making? The conceptual framework enriches innovation studies and the multi-level perspective with insights from social movement theory (SMT) and political science. SMT is used to analyze the build up of normative pressure (through framing, resource mobilization, and political opportunity structures). From political science we use the notion of multiple streams, in our analysis a problem, regulatory, market and technology stream.The research design consists of a comparative case study of pig husbandry systems. One case analyses the sub-sector of pregnant sows where normative pressures, after several decades, led to the changes advocated by the contestants. The second case concerns the sub-sector of pig fattening where normative pressure was less successful. The difference is partly explained by the normative pressure for pregnant sows being larger than for fattening pigs. The other part of the explanation is that in the first case normative pressure aligned better with the three other streams (regulatory, market and technology) to lead to the changes desired by the contestants.