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Contribution to Collected Edition

Institutions and Systems: Analysing Technical Innovation Processes from an Institutional Perspective


Werle,  Raymund
Wissenschaft, Technik und Innovationssysteme, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Werle, R. (2012). Institutions and Systems: Analysing Technical Innovation Processes from an Institutional Perspective. In J. M. Bauer, A. Lang, & V. Schneider (Eds.), Innovation Policy and Governance in High-tech Industries: The Complexity of Coordination (pp. 23-47). Berlin: Springer.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-C3AA-5
Different sub-disciplines of the social sciences analyse the evolution and diffusion of technical innovations from an institutional perspective. Important contributions are provided by socio-economic studies of national systems of innovation, by politico-economic research on the varieties of capitalism, and by the sociology of technology. These studies often start from rather simple distinctions between types of technical innovations (e.g., radical versus incremental) which they usually do not elaborate on. Also, most of them neglect that particularly large and complex technical systems require specific institutional provisions for their functioning. Such “black-boxing” of technology by and large facilitates detecting generalisable relations between institutional constellations and technical innovations. But a more sophisticated analysis of the relationship between institutions and technical innovations needs more precise concepts of both technology and institutions, and it must dismiss the prevailing institutional determinism. Processes of technical and institutional innovations are characterised by co-evolution , interaction and mutual adjustment.