The outcomes of directionality: Towards a morphology of sociotechnical systems
Journal article, 2021

The sustainability transitions literature departs from the idea that grand challenges such as climate change and rising inequality call for far-reaching changes in sociotechnical systems of production and consumption. This implies a dual interest in the directionality of innovation; some directions of change can be perceived as more desirable, while others may be more plausible due to the path dependent nature of sociotechnical change. The specific characteristics of the potential outcomes of directionality have, however, received little attention. Our aim is therefore to unpack and conceptualize the multidimensional space in which sociotechnical systems may adopt different shapes and configurations. We also provide three illustrative empirical examples where directionality has resulted in systems with different technical, social and spatial characteristics. The ideas put forward in this paper can be seen as a contribution to a morphology of sociotechnical systems and thereby support efforts to investigate or promote specific directions of change.

Directionality

Sociotechnical system

Technological innovation

Morphology

Sustainability transitions

Author

Johnn Andersson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Hans Hellsmark

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Björn Sandén

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions

2210-4224 (ISSN)

Vol. 40 108-131

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Information Systemes, Social aspects

DOI

10.1016/j.eist.2021.06.008

More information

Latest update

7/15/2021