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Title: Exploring the institutional work of an industry association in the greening of industrial sectors
Author: Hutson, Nichola
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 5433
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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An analysis and mesolevel account of the interaction between the industry association and field level techno-institutional developments through a process of eco-innovation is under-examined. Innovation and institutional literatures frequently mention the potential role industry associations can play in processes of technological or institutional change, but rarely explore them in detail. To investigate this, the thesis examined the roles of a European industry association in the greening of two industrial sub-sectors at the organisational field level (Hoffman 1999; Wooten & Hoffman 2008). A framework was built utilising innovation and institutional theory to explain changes across three dimensions of innovation: the institutional (political), socio/cultural and technological (Unruh 2000; Konnola et al. 2007; Wiskerke & Roep 2007); the construct of institutional work from institutional theory (Perkmann & Spicer 2008) was used to explain the industry associations activities in relation to this process. By elaborating, extending and combining these perspectives together, a model for exploring institutional-innovation change and the roles of the industry association through this process was provided. The research was informed by conducting an extensive documentary review including trade publications, policy reports and industry association archives; 40 semi-structured elite interviews with key corporations, non-governmental organisations, and representatives from the industry association, scientists and policy makers supported this. The empirics were discussed under two historic cases of (1) Tributyltin in marine antifouling coatings, and (2) Volatile Organic Compounds in interior decorative wall paints. A narrative case approach helped contextualise the observations, punctuating the story by empirically defined 'contextual conditions'. This thesis contributes to the greening of industry literature by showing the industry association does play an active role across different phases of eco-innovation maintaining a relevant role throughout. It achieved this by addressing a critical gap in the literature on institutional work, focusing on the roles of a meta-organisation instead of a normal organisation. This provided a novel perspective on industry associations, highlighting their active role throughout the eco-innovation process. The main contribution is in showing how industry associations are engaged in a diverse range of political, socio/cultural and technical-regime activities over time. Timing played a key role with respect what activities get pursued, and was shown to matter for how the association continues to function through the eco-innovation process. It acted more forcefully through this as a result of the temporality of its meta-organisational work, orientating activities at both the organisational and wider field levels that are affected by the dominant initiatives it establishes. Finally, sub-context matters for how intensively different types of institutional work get pursued; action is constrained by the variable institutional arrangements of different markets. When an issue arises in a consumer-facing market, the association will seek to build legitimacy around corporate social responsibility; in a niche-customer domain it will seek to build legitimacy around economic and technological efficiency.
Supervisor: Mcmeekin, Andrew ; Dewick, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Institutional Work ; Meta-Organisations ; Industry Associations ; Organisational Fields ; Techno-institutional developments ; Eco-Innovation