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Forever stuck in old ways? Pluralising incumbencies in sustainability transitions

Abstract : In this Viewpoint, we argue that transitions research needs to engage more firmly with the role of incumbents and various forms of incumbencies. We identify shortcomings of existing research, notably a tendency to portray incumbents as ‘villains’ wedded to resisting, slowing down or preventing transition efforts. With that in mind, the Viewpoint briefly summarises shortcomings within existing research and proposes four steps for pluralising the discussion. We call attention to more emphasis on 1) a multiplicity of incumbent actor types, 2) a variety of actor strategies within (and across) organisational populations, 3) the transient nature of strategic positioning (over time), and 4) the varied resources that incumbents may deploy to support transformative change.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 8, 2021 - 5:37:36 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 12:14:02 PM


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Bruno Turnheim, Benjamin Sovacool. Forever stuck in old ways? Pluralising incumbencies in sustainability transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 2020, 35, pp.180-184. ⟨10.1016/j.eist.2019.10.012⟩. ⟨hal-03162822⟩



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