Avdeitchikova, S. & Coenen, L. (2015). Commercializing clean technology innovations: the emergence of new business in an agency-structure perspective. In P. Kryö (Ed.), Handbook of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Research (pp. 321-341). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Clean technology is seen as indispensable to solve or at least abate an environmental/energy crisis without abandoning possibilities for progress and economic growth. This, however, does not imply that sustainable development can be readily achieved through a ‘technical fix’. Innovation and commercial introduction of new technology are inherently uncertain processes that fail more often than that they succeed. Studies on the commercialization of new technology in entrepreneurship literature have often struggled to explain why some new technologies reach markets while others do not, as well as why some technological solutions ultimately become industry standards while others quickly disappear from the market. Traditional technology commercialization models are linear, based on a technology-push logic and focus rather exclusively on micro-level issues such as characteristics of technology and product, entrepreneurial experience and access to resources. This chapter takes stock with a linear perspective to cleantech commercialization processes and, instead, suggests an alternative approach to analyze the entrepreneurial process of commercializing cleantech. In particular, this approach underlines the duality concerning structure and agency that entrepreneurs tend to encounter in the commercialization of cleantech. The objective of this chapter is to identify how agency and structure interplay in the process of commercializing cleantech. To do so, the chapter compares two literatures that each depart from different starting points. Whereas the institutional entrepreneurship literature often departs from the micro-level of individual or organizational action, the socio-technical transitions literature departs from a systems perspective on technological change. The contribution of the chapter lies in making explicit the agency-structure discussion in the different approaches in order to add to our understanding of cleantech as an emergent technological field and the role of entrepreneurs and/or entrepreneurship in shaping this field.