Technological development for sustainability: The role of network management in the innovation policy mix
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019

Despite the key role of actor networks in progressing new sustainable technologies, there is a shortage of conceptual knowledge on how policy can help strengthen collaborative practices in such networks. The objective of this paper is to analyze the roles of such policies – so-called network management – throughout the entire technological development processes. The analysis draws on the public management and sustainability transitions literatures, and discusses how various network characteristics could affect the development of sustainable technologies, including how different categories of network management strategies could be deployed to influence actor collaborations. The paper's main contribution is an analytical framework that addresses the changing roles of network management at the interface between various phases of the technological development process, illustrated with the empirical case of advanced biorefinery technology development in Sweden. Furthermore, the analysis also addresses some challenges that policy makers are likely to encounter when pursuing network management strategies, and identifies a number of negative consequences of ignoring such instruments in the innovation policy mix. The latter include inefficient actor role-taking, the emergence of small, ineffective and competing actor networks in similar technological fields, and a shortage of interpretative knowledge.

Innovation policy mixes

Actor networks

Sustainable technological development

Network management

Biorefinery technology


Patrik Söderholm

Luleå tekniska universitet

Hans Hellsmark

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Environmental Systems Analysis

J. Frishammar

Luleå tekniska universitet

Handelshögskolan i Stockholm

Julia Hansson

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Maritima studier

IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet

J. Mossberg

Luleå tekniska universitet

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Annica Sandström

Luleå tekniska universitet

Technological Forecasting and Social Change

0040-1625 (ISSN)

Vol. 138 309-323


Tvärvetenskapliga studier


Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning



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