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Title: Nanotechnology and institutional change : the co-industrial and institutional emergence of nanotechnology as a demonstrative case of a new form of institutional entrepreneurship
Author: Auplat, Claire Aimee
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 1453
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2009
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This study provides a conceptual framework of the combined actions of various groups of stakeholders to account for a new field of institutional emergence: technology-centred institutional emergence. The aim is to gain better understanding of the process of the coinstitutional and industrial emergence of a new technology. Rather than focusing on a particular group of stakeholders, the institutional entrepreneurial ‘heroes’, the chosen perspective is to provide evidence that institutional entrepreneurship is a complex process which results from a multifaceted web of interactions. By focusing on the particular empirical case of the co-industrial and institutional emergence of nanotechnology, it reveals some of the characteristics of this process. The empirical field of nanotechnology is the nexus of a whole range of technical, economic and social activities and is at the core of much debate relating to ethics, regulation, economics and politics. Therefore it constitutes an excellent domain of research to enable the replicability of the findings. The scope of the study is global, with a particular focus on Europe and the United States. In this research, I draw mainly from the theoretical frameworks of new institutionalism and entrepreneurship. New institutionalism claims that institutions operate in an environment consisting of other institutions which influence them and that to survive in such an environment, organisations need to establish legitimacy within the world of institutions. The establishment of legitimacy is at the heart of this research and I show that in the field of nanotechnology ventures, institutional legitimacy arises from close interactions between entrepreneurship and institutional entrepreneurship. Building on this conceptual framework I show that: • The process of nanotechnology institutional emergence is co-evolutionary with that of industrial emergence. • Institutional emergence in nanotechnologies results from a specific web of interactions where increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable development constitutes an overlapping area of the distinct visions of each group of stakeholders and may be seen as the connecting element which keeps otherwise potentially diverging agendas together. My demonstration rests on a model which postulates that nanotechnology institutional emergence results from the combined interactions of mainly five groups of stakeholders: entrepreneurs, commentators, end users, scientists and policy makers.
Supervisor: Phillips, Nelson ; Malhotra, Namrata Sponsor: Imperial College Business School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral