An institutional perspective of public policy and network effects in the renewable energy industry: enablers or disablers of entrepreneurial behaviour and innovation?

Claudia Doblinger, Michael Dowling, Roland Helm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study extends theory on the effects of public policies stimulating technology demand and of industry network ties on firm-level entrepreneurial behaviour. We take an institutional perspective to develop a theoretical model examining the mechanisms through which public policies, regulatory uncertainty, and industry network ties affect firm-level entrepreneurial decision-making processes and the ability to introduce highly innovative products and to sustain superior performance. We focus on firm-level effects, which enables the study of the tension between institutional pressures of homogeneity and competitive pressures of heterogeneity for entrepreneurial decision-making processes in environments characterized by policy-induced market demands. To test our hypotheses, we draw on data from a large-scale survey among German renewable energy firms. Our results show that public policies can constrain firm innovativeness and risk-taking behaviour because they steer firms towards a more conservative attitude and discourage the pursuit of high-risk innovation projects. However, firms can counteract these influences and enhance their innovativeness by maintaining close network ties with research associations as we find that innovativeness and a highly innovative product portfolio are key success factors. In summary, these findings provide important implications for the study of public policy effects, industry network ties and entrepreneurial behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-156
Number of pages31
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Volume28
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Entrepreneurship
  • innovation
  • institutional theory
  • network ties
  • public policy
  • renewable energy technologies
  • structural equation modelling

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