Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 12: An institutional perspective on sustainability transitions

Lea Fuenfschilling


This chapter introduces an institutional perspective on sustainability transitions. Sustainability transitions entail the destabilization and de-institutionalization of existing socio-technical regimes in various industries and the creation and diffusion, hence institutionalization, of new, potentially more sustainable socio-technical configurations. Institutional theory thus provides excellent insights into such processes of institutional change, explaining both the durability of current regimes as well as sources of innovation and change. The chapter reviews some of the basic assumptions in research on sustainability transitions and discusses their relationship with and consequences for processes of institutional change. It also outlines different avenues of research in institutional theory that offer fruitful explanations for transition dynamics – for example, organizational fields, institutional logics, institutional work or institutional complexity.

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