The Governance of Socio-Technical Systems: Explaining Change

Why do we see so few electric cars on our streets today in spite of the overwhelming positive views on them? Why is it so difficult to introduce electronic patient journals in our hospitals or to phase out fossil-based energy sources? How come mobile telephones were developed and expanded so rapidly in the past two decades? How are integrated transport systems transforming commuting in large cities, and who contributes to that change? At a basic level these questions have to do with the way in which science and technology interact with society. It is a commonplace today in the social sciences literature that science, technology and society are constantly shaping each other in a truly co-constitutive process. However, these questions also have to do with the elements that form the socio-technical and innovation systems as well as with socio-cultural and economic aspects in the intentionality towards (or against) change.

In a recent book with Jakob Edler, we argue for the need for a better understanding of governance of change in socio-technical systems and innovation systems. In the book, we develop a conceptual framework to understand change and studies governance of change in a range of selected case studies that mobilize this framework. It focuses on three pillars: the “who and what drives change?” (agents and opportunity structures), the “how is change influenced?” (policy instruments) and the “why is it accepted?” (societal legitimacy) of the governance process.

Visual who what why governance change

“The Governance of Socio-Technical Systems” is a book that offers a stepping-stone towards building a theory of governance of change, bridges the gap between the different social sciences’ disciplines (economics, political sciences and sociology), provides novel empirical cases of different modes of governing change, and presents a new research agenda on the interaction between science, technology and society.

You can find the e-book in this link:

Photo: Skeppsbrokajen, Stockholm, Sweden


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