تاثیر عدم قطعیت درک شده در کنش کارآفرینانه فن آوری انرژی تجدید پذیر در حال ظهور ، پروژه های تبدیل به گاز توده زنده در هلند
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|9479||2007||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 35, Issue 11, November 2007, Pages 5836–5854
Emerging renewable energy technologies cannot break through without the involvement of entrepreneurs who dare to take action amidst uncertainty. The uncertainties that the entrepreneurs involved perceive will greatly affect their innovation decisions and can prevent them from engaging in innovation projects aimed at developing and implementing emerging renewable energy technologies. This article analyzes how perceived uncertainties and motivation influence an entrepreneur's decision to act, using empirical data on biomass gasification projects in the Netherlands. Our empirical results show that technological, political and resource uncertainty are the most dominant sources of perceived uncertainty influencing entrepreneurial decision-making. By performing a dynamic analysis, we furthermore demonstrate that perceived uncertainties and motivation are not stable, but evolve over time. We identify critical factors in the project's internal and external environment which influence these changes in perceived uncertainties and motivation, and describe how various interactions between the different variables in the conceptual model (internal and external factors, perceived uncertainty, motivation and previous actions of the entrepreneurs) positively or negatively influence the decision of entrepreneurs to continue entrepreneurial action. We discuss how policymakers can use these insights for stimulating the development and diffusion of emerging renewable energy technologies.
The ever-growing body of literature on innovation and entrepreneurial decision-making reveals that there is a large and diverse set of factors influencing the decision of entrepreneurs whether or not to engage in innovation activities. These numerous factors range from characteristics of the innovation itself (e.g. the distinction between radical versus incremental innovations or the relative advantage of an innovation compared with established technologies (Dewar and Dutton, 1986; Henderson and Clark, 1990; Rogers, 1995)) to characteristics of the decision-making actor (such as personal or cultural characteristics that distinguish entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs or innovators from laggards (Brockhaus, 1980; Rogers, 1995; Shane, 1995)), characteristics of the environment in which the entrepreneur is operating (e.g. the stability of the market demand or the degree of competition (Porter, 1980; Teece et al., 1997)) and so on. However, independent of the type of actor, the type of innovation or the type of environment, all innovation decisions inherently involve uncertainty (Nelson and Winter, 1977; Dosi, 1982; Rosenberg, 1996; Edquist, 1997). Therefore, uncertainty is considered a very important factor to focus on in order to gain a better understanding of innovation decisions. The intrinsically uncertain character of innovation decisions is particularly true for innovation decisions concerning emerging technologies, i.e. technologies that are still in an early phase of development (van Merkerk and van Lente, 2005). On the one hand, the high degree of uncertainty surrounding emerging technologies signifies the large variety of opportunities that a new technology has to offer. On the other hand, though, this uncertainty poses a threat of not knowing what comes next and not being able to ex ante determine the success or failure of a technological path (Garud and Rappa, 1994). To phrase it differently, uncertainty can both create opportunities for entrepreneurs to engage in emerging technologies, as well as hamper entrepreneurs in undertaking action. Thus, the relation between uncertainty and the decision of entrepreneurs to engage in emerging technologies is very complex. While the emergence of new technologies in general is a long and uncertain process, this appears to be particularly true for the development and diffusion of emerging renewable energy technologies (Jacobsson and Johnson, 2000). Due to the urgent problem of climate change, there is a growing need for the application of renewable energy technologies. However, despite their large environmental benefits, large-scale implementation of emerging renewable energy technologies has proven to be difficult (Jacobsson and Bergek, 2004; Raven, 2005; Negro, 2007). In 2004, the share of renewables in western countries accounted for only 5.7% of the total primary energy supply (IEA, 2007). Several authors have argued that uncertainty is one of the major barriers for the breakthrough of emerging renewable energy technologies (Kemp et al., 1998; Rotmans, 2003; Jacobsson and Bergek, 2004; Foxon et al., 2005). More specifically, Jacobsson and Bergek (2004) argue that uncertainty is blocking the development and implementation of renewable energy technologies, since it hinders the fulfilment of entrepreneurial activities (Jacobsson and Bergek, 2004). This is problematic, since the emergence of a new technology cannot take place without the involvement of entrepreneurs who dare to take action under uncertainty, in pursuit of a possible opportunity arising from the new technology (Hekkert et al., 2007). In order to contribute to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that determine the emergence of renewable energy technologies, this article therefore aims to provide insight into the influence of uncertainty on entrepreneurial action in emerging renewable energy technologies. In traditional entrepreneurship literature, the success or failure of entrepreneurial action is often attributed to specific individuals who have the vision, skills and risk-taking mentality needed to discover, create and exploit opportunities that lie beyond the reach of most (see Gartner (1990) for an overview). However, there is a growing awareness that the development of emerging technologies cannot be attributed to any one individual actor, but is best understood as “both an individual and a collective act” (Van de Ven, 1993; Edquist, 2001; Garud and Karnøe, 2003; Jacobsson and Bergek, 2004; Hekkert et al., 2007). As Garud and Karnøe (2003) argue, “technology entrepreneurship is a larger process that builds upon the efforts of many”. According to this stream of research, entrepreneurs are not only technology-developers who produce new technologies, but, for instance, also adopters (buyers and users) who offer critical inputs for the commercialization of emerging technologies (Van de Ven, 1993; Garud and Karnøe, 2001 and Garud and Karnøe, 2003). In this article, we subscribe to the idea that the development of emerging renewable energy technologies is the result of actions from multiple entrepreneurs. However, in contrast to the above scholars, we do not analyze the emerging technology from a macro- or system-level perspective but focus on specific innovation projects from the perspective of the various entrepreneurs involved. In this article, we focus on the development of biomass gasification technology by studying various innovation projects aimed at developing and implementing this emerging renewable energy technology. This focus on innovation projects is useful for providing more insight into the relation between entrepreneurial action and the perception of uncertainties. This study builds on the work of McMullen and Shepherd (2006) who argue that, in order to understand the influence of perceived uncertainty on entrepreneurial action, we are required to examine not only perceived uncertainty but also the entrepreneur's motivation. They explain that whether an entrepreneur will engage in a particular action is a decision that depends on whether the entrepreneur is motivated enough to act, given the uncertainty he or she expects to encounter in pursuit of an opportunity (McMullen and Shepherd, 2006). Thus, motivation needs to outweigh perceived uncertainty in order for entrepreneurs to act. This implies that we need to analyse both perceived uncertainty as well as the balance between perceived uncertainty and motivation if we want to understand why some entrepreneurs decide to act whereas others do not. We will make three contributions to the conceptual framework of McMullen and Shepherd (2006). First, we will break down uncertainty perceptions in different sources of uncertainty. Whereas McMullen and Shepherd (2006) analyse perceived uncertainty by looking at whether or not an entrepreneur possesses enough knowledge in order to recognize an opportunity worth pursuing, we try to specify in what domains knowledge is lacking by distinguishing between different uncertainty sources. The entrepreneurs involved in emerging technologies are confronted not only with high uncertainty about the technology itself but also with uncertainty about other elements in the socio-institutional environment in which the new technology will be embedded, such as uncertainty about unclear user requirements or the actions of competitors (Rosenberg, 1996; Afuah and Utterback, 1997; Meijer et al., 2006). Since previous research (Meijer et al., 2007) has suggested that entrepreneurs initiate different types of activities in order to deal with different sources of perceived uncertainty, we believe that identifying dominant sources of uncertainty can deliver valuable insights for entrepreneurs and policymakers to develop strategies for better managing these uncertainties. Second, we will add a dynamic perspective. McMullen and Shepherd (2006) only focus on the initial decision of an entrepreneur to engage in entrepreneurial action. If we consider the fact that many entrepreneurial activities are stopped prematurely, then apparently an entrepreneur's decision to act is not permanent. This being true, we need to develop a more dynamic view of how perceived uncertainties and motivation, and consequently an entrepreneur's decision to act, change over time. Third, if we want to understand why some entrepreneurs decide to act whereas others do not, we need to know more about the factors that influence an entrepreneur's perception of uncertainties and motivation. Therefore, we pose the following research questions: 1. Which sources of uncertainty are perceived to be important for the decisions of the various entrepreneurs involved in development and implementation projects of biomass gasification in the Netherlands? 2. How do perceived uncertainties and motivation influence entrepreneurial action in different phases of the biomass gasification projects? 3. What are critical factors influencing the perceived uncertainties and the motivation of entrepreneurs in the biomass gasification projects? The article proceeds as follows. In Section 2, we discuss some relevant theories on uncertainty and introduce a typology of uncertainty sources relevant for analysing entrepreneurial action regarding emerging technologies. We apply these theoretical insights in an empirical case on biomass gasification in the Netherlands (Section 4). Gasification is a very efficient technology to convert biomass into electricity. Although in the Netherlands the expectations about this emerging renewable energy technology are high, the breakthrough of this technology proves difficult since many projects, which were set up by entrepreneurs to develop and implement this technology, have failed (Green Balance, 2004; Kwant and Knoef, 2004; van Ree et al., 2005; Faaij, 2006; Negro et al., 2006). By analyzing several innovation projects over time and comparing them, we are able to answer our research questions. We end our article by discussing the main conclusions and policy implications (Section 5).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of this article was to gain a deeper understanding of the role of perceived uncertainties in innovation projects aimed at developing and implementing emerging renewable energy technologies. Previous researchers have often argued that the emergence of a new technology is inherently uncertain and that this uncertainty can block entrepreneurial action. In this article, we wanted to take this argument a step further by identifying the major sources of perceived uncertainty and analyzing how perceived uncertainty influences entrepreneurial action in different phases of an innovation project. From the empirical case on the development and implementation of biomass gasification in the Netherlands, we conclude that the dominant uncertainty sources influencing entrepreneurial decision-making in this early stage of technological development are technological, political and resource uncertainty. Furthermore, our empirical analysis supports the argument of McMullen and Shepherd (2006) that the decision of an entrepreneur whether or not to engage in a particular action is dependent on the balance between perceived uncertainty and motivation. Entrepreneurs will decide to act only if they are motivated enough, given the uncertainty they expect to encounter in pursuit of an opportunity. However, we believe that the work of McMullen and Shepherd (2006) has some important limitations in that it only focuses on the initial decision of entrepreneurs to undertake a particular action and does not provide explanations for the fact that many innovation projects are abandoned prematurely. By performing a dynamic analysis, we were able to examine how perceived uncertainties and motivation change over time and how these changes affect the decision of entrepreneurs whether or not to continue their actions. This dynamic analysis showed that many biomass gasification projects have been abandoned before ever reaching the exploitation phase because perceived uncertainties increased and motivation decreased over time. Such changes in perceived uncertainties and motivation are influenced by various factors in the project's internal environment, such as changes in the actor constitution or the temporal duration of the project, and factors in the external environment of the project, like economic change, institutional change or technological developments external to the project. By showing how various negative and positive interaction patterns can occur between these internal and external factors and the entrepreneurs’ perceived uncertainties and motivation, we provide a deeper insight into the underlying dynamics of innovation projects. Given the increasing interest in understanding and steering entrepreneurial activities within sustainable technology development (e.g. Jacobsson and Bergek, 2004; Elzen et al., 2004; Elzen and Wieczorek, 2005; Raven, 2006; Negro, 2007), we believe that both scholars and policymakers may benefit from this more dynamic perspective on the role of perceived uncertainties in entrepreneurial action. The conceptual framework that we applied in our empirical case provides policymakers three different options in order to reduce the negative consequences of perceived uncertainties on entrepreneurial action: policy can directly address the sources of uncertainty, policy can influence the motivation of the entrepreneurs and policy can aim at decreasing the negative influence of factors in the project's environment. Using the empirical case on biomass gasification as an example, the following policy recommendations can be made. First of all, policy instruments can be aimed at directly reducing perceived uncertainties. Although some of the uncertainty sources (such as technological uncertainty or supplier uncertainty) lie beyond the direct control of policymakers, policymakers play an important role in reducing political uncertainty. Since our empirical analysis showed that political uncertainty is one of the major sources of uncertainty for the entrepreneurs involved in biomass gasification projects, reducing this uncertainty can form an important stimulus for entrepreneurial action. With respect to biomass gasification, the main issues are to reduce the ambiguity and complexity in the emission regulation concerning the license of bio-energy plants21 and to reduce uncertainty about future changes of the financial instruments. Second, policy instruments can be aimed at increasing the motivation of entrepreneurs to engage in biomass gasification projects. As we described in the empirical section, the governmental subsidy that entrepreneurs receive for producing renewable electricity has formed an important incentive to engage in bio-energy projects. However, the effectiveness of these financial instruments in terms of increasing the motivation of entrepreneurs is counteracted by the uncertainty which entrepreneurs perceive with respect to the frequent and unexpected changes of these instruments. Third, policy instruments can be aimed at protecting first-of-a-kind projects like the biomass gasification projects from the negative influences of factors in the project's environment. With respect to the biomass gasification projects, one of the ways for policymakers to do this is to grant a first-of-a-kind project a permanent license instead of a temporary license for a limited trial period. By preventing the fact that the limited validity duration of licenses becomes a barrier, entrepreneurs have more time to learn how best to deal with the perceived uncertainties they encounter in the development and implementation of emerging technologies. Another way to help entrepreneurs of these first-of-a-kind projects is to provide risk capital. As was illustrated in the case study, entrepreneurs often have difficulty to mobilize financial resources since banks, investors or top management are reluctant to invest in high-risk projects aimed at implementing emerging technologies that are not yet ‘proven’. By making more governmental funds available for these first-of-a-kind projects, the projects will become less vulnerable to the judgements of above-mentioned parties and uncertainty about the mobilization of financial resources will be reduced. In order for emerging renewable energy technologies to develop into ‘proven’ and widely diffused technologies, it is essential that several of these “first-of-a-kind” projects manage to succeed. Therefore, policymakers should use all the options they have in order to support entrepreneurs to cope with the large uncertainties, which are encountered in “first-of-a-kind” projects, and thereby to prevent that so many of these projects fail.