In the last decades the uncontrolled impact of industrial activities on the natural environment has created critical ecological concerns. Although companies have many options to reduce the environmental impact of their activities through product design and technologies, their initiative is often stifled from the evidence that market entrances of green products tend to be difficult, slow and highly requiring. The aim of this research is to explain the diffusion problems of green technologies through the lens of technological dominance. According to this literature 'technological change can be fruitfully characterized as a socio-cultural evolutionary process of variation, selection and retention' (Anderson and Tushman, 1990) through which a dominant technology finally emerges. This process of selection is shaped by social, political, and organizational dynamics acting both at industry and firm level. Being green technologies disruptive innovations in each industry in which they are implemented, their full acceptance is subordinated to the repeated interaction of firm capabilities, managerial willingness, institutional rules and competitive dynamics. The present study investigates this era of ferment in the diffusion of environmental technologies through the analysis of the time to takeoff needed by a new product incorporating environmental technologies, and through the identification of systematic patterns in the interaction among evolutionary forces. The empirical part consists of a quantitative analysis of archival data in industries characterized by a high environmental impact (automobile, appliances, lighting). In order to investigate the take-off of environmental technologies data on sales have been collected, plotted, and fitted with the generalized logistic function. The results provide evidence of a S-shaped pattern of diffusion, although no generalization is possible on the time to takeoff. In order to examine the temporal pattern of interaction among evolutionary forces, survival analysis techniques and GLS regression have been used. Among the rest, the results suggest that the design of products incorporating environmental technologies should always balance the performance of the disruptive attribute and the mainstream attribute. Additionally, supporting regulation is important for accelerating the takeoff of environmental technologies, although its effectiveness depends on the type of regulatory tools. Finally top management commitment emerges as an underestimated central driver of the adoption of environmental technologies.

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Calabretta, Giulia

The takeoff of environmental technologies: A historical analysis of timing and affecting factors

09/2009
In the last decades the uncontrolled impact of industrial activities on the natural environment has created critical ecological concerns. Although companies have many options to reduce the environmental impact of their activities through product design and technologies, their initiative is often stifled from the evidence that market entrances of green products tend to be difficult, slow and highly requiring. The aim of this research is to explain the diffusion problems of green technologies through the lens of technological dominance. According to this literature 'technological change can be fruitfully characterized as a socio-cultural evolutionary process of variation, selection and retention' (Anderson and Tushman, 1990) through which a dominant technology finally emerges. This process of selection is shaped by social, political, and organizational dynamics acting both at industry and firm level. Being green technologies disruptive innovations in each industry in which they are implemented, their full acceptance is subordinated to the repeated interaction of firm capabilities, managerial willingness, institutional rules and competitive dynamics. The present study investigates this era of ferment in the diffusion of environmental technologies through the analysis of the time to takeoff needed by a new product incorporating environmental technologies, and through the identification of systematic patterns in the interaction among evolutionary forces. The empirical part consists of a quantitative analysis of archival data in industries characterized by a high environmental impact (automobile, appliances, lighting). In order to investigate the take-off of environmental technologies data on sales have been collected, plotted, and fitted with the generalized logistic function. The results provide evidence of a S-shaped pattern of diffusion, although no generalization is possible on the time to takeoff. In order to examine the temporal pattern of interaction among evolutionary forces, survival analysis techniques and GLS regression have been used. Among the rest, the results suggest that the design of products incorporating environmental technologies should always balance the performance of the disruptive attribute and the mainstream attribute. Additionally, supporting regulation is important for accelerating the takeoff of environmental technologies, although its effectiveness depends on the type of regulatory tools. Finally top management commitment emerges as an underestimated central driver of the adoption of environmental technologies.
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The takeoff of environmental technologies: A historical analysis of timing and affecting factors
Calabretta, Giulia
Universitat Ramon Llull (URL). ESADE

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