Testing, Contesting and Legitimizing Technology Diffusion in Regulated Environments
University of Zurich Working Paper No. 301
48 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 20, 2012
Based on a longitudinal case study approach, this paper shows that the legitimation processes of technology diffusion in regulated environments is subjected to distinct power struggles manifested in different framing contests when several competing technological frames are crafted, are contradictory and attempt at capturing the same resources. We show that technology framing contests increase ambiguity which may in turn spark the need to rely on technology testing in order to bring a resolution of the debate, to lower ambiguity and to provide legitimacy to the purpose and benefits of a technology. Furthermore, we show that when framing contests over diffusion cannot be resolved through legitimated means, institution testing may come into play. This is likely to occur when the cultural-cognitive legitimacy of a technology has acquired sufficient force to trump regulatory legitimacy.
Keywords: institutional testing, framing contest, legitimacy, technology, Boltanski and Thévenot
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