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Title: A network perspective on sociotechnical transitions : The emergence of the electronic book
Authors: Piterou, Athina
Advisors: Steward, F
Keywords: Actor-network theory;Social network analysis;Environmental sustainability
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Brunel University Brunel Business School PhD Theses
Abstract: The sociotechnical system of print-on-paper for the dissemination of textual information prevails despite widespread concerns about its sustainability. On the basis of sociotechnical transitions theory the print-on-paper system is perceived as a regime. Information technology is identified as one of the generic technologies that has the potential to address the unsustainability of the incumbent regime. Its potential effects are examined through the development of the electronic book, which is defined as those IT applications providing an alternative form of textual display to printed paper. Yet, such applications have remained marginal. According to sociotechnical transitions theory the electronic book can be seen as a niche in relation to the print-on-paper regime. An alternative conceptualisation of transitions as a process of network reconfiguration is suggested. On that basis, the electronic book is depicted as a number of emergent innovation networks. Social Network Analysis methods informed by network approaches to innovation theory are applied to visualise and discuss these emergent networks. In one of the representations, the electronic book is mapped as a sociotechnical network including organisations, users and technologies. It emerges that network formation often transgresses a distinct niche-regime divide. Patterns of network interaction are explored and assessed as to whether they represent a sociotechnical transition in progress. The analysis reveals different patterns of network formation which are indicative of prospective sociotechnical trajectories where different concepts of the electronic book are emphasised. It emerges that the discussion of sustainability and the emergence of the electronic book remain largely unlinked.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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