Conceptual confusion - an analysis of the meaning of concepts in technological innovation systems and sociological functionalism
Journal article, 2014

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how conceptual confusion may be a significant obstacle to cross-disciplinary dialogue. We focus on the relationship between the framework of technological innovation systems (TIS) and sociological functionalism (SF). The paper argues that while there are similarities between the two schools of thought, in particular in the use of the terms 'structure' and 'function', these are more linguistic than substantive. We demonstrate this by assessing the validity of the spillover to TIS of four main points of critique raised against SF. We conclude by stating some lessons for improving cross-disciplinary communication.


Staffan Jacobsson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Thomas Jacobsson

Institute for Management of Innovation and Technology (IMIT)

Technology Analysis and Strategic Management

0953-7325 (ISSN) 1465-3990 (eISSN)

Vol. 26 7 811-823

Subject Categories

Economics and Business



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