Gherardi, Silvia and Holti, Richard and Nicolini, Davide (1999) When technological innovation is not enough : understanding the take up of advanced energy technology. In «Quaderni del Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale», n. 24 UNSPECIFIED.
This Quaderno of the Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale is aimed at presenting some reflections on the social, economic and technological forces and circumstances that encourage or discourage the take-up of advanced energy-efficient technologies within manufacturing processes in European enterprises. Its background lays in a wider research project conducted in the years 1995-1998 called SORGET, which involved four European countries. On the basis of extended fieldwork carried out using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, it was discovered that no single factor or limited group of factors has a simple determining role in shaping the take-up of energy-efficient technologies. Take-up occurs as a consequence of the complex interaction of a wide variety of social, economic, organisational and technological developments. The study found that the extent to which consideration of energy issues is explicit, and how it is linked to wider corporate objectives, can be understood in terms of a firm, at any point in time, exhibiting what amounts to a “corporate stance” on energy matters. This is a way of thinking and acting about energy matters, negotiated between people and demonstrated in their daily behaviour. The crucial differences between organisations lie in the extent to which their corporate energy stances are proactive and global as opposed to reactive and local. The data, on which the present reflections are based, were produced within SORGET (Social and Organisational Issues in The Adoption of Advanced Energy Technologies), a transnational research effort partially funded by the European Commission within the Joule Thermie Programme. The SORGET project was coordinated by Richard Holti (The Tavistock Institute) and three European partners: Silvia Gherardi (University of Trento), Peter Plougmann (The Danish Technological Institute) and Peter Groenewegen (Free University of Amsterdam). We are indebt with our collegues for the generous contribution profused in their national reports and in the final report to the European Commission, nevertheless the final responsibility for the considerations reported in the Quaderno is on the authors. We wish to thank all the collegues which took part in the development of the national reports and acknowledge the role of AROC (Associazione per la Ricerca sulle Organizzazioni Complesse) in supporting the Italian team (formed by Davide Nicolini and Bruno Bolognini). We are also indebt to the Advisory Panel of European experts in energy technologies formed by: Niels O Gram, Energy Manager, Confederation of Danish Industries; Nigel Pratten, Manager, Energy Efficiency Department, Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU), UK; F van Nielen, Managing Director MINT (Market Focused Intersectoral Technologies), NOVEM, Netherlands; W M van Rijnsoever, Managing Director MPI (Environmental Plan Industry), Gasunie, Netherlands, David White, David J White Associates, UK, and Piergiulio Avanzini, CNR, Italy.
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