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Examining open-endedness of expectations in emerging technological fields: The case of cellulosic ethanol

Gustafsson, Robin, Kuusi, Osmo, Meyer, Martin S. (2015) Examining open-endedness of expectations in emerging technological fields: The case of cellulosic ethanol. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 91 . pp. 179-193. (doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.008) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:38638)

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The promises and visions arising from scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and the emergence of technological fields are by nature uncertain and inaccurate. This paper suggests that a reasonable way to expose more accurately the conditions of incomplete knowledge, imperfect inference, and open-endedness surrounding emerging technological fields is to look at actors' shared expectations or common guiding images that function as scenarios. A rigorous theoretical framework and a methodological approach that exposes in a more accurate way foundations and generalizations underlying guiding images in emerging technological fields is developed. We undertake co-classification analysis of patent data, content analysis of patents, and analysis of firm communication in order to map, analytically distinguish generalizations, and judge (using domain experts) the foundations of competing guiding images in the emerging field of cellulosic bioethanol. We uncover two competing guiding images, an ‘expectation-based’ guiding image of ‘cellulose ethanol manufacturing’, and a more radical development, an ‘anticipation-based’ guiding image of ‘plant self-production’. Further, we identify a wild card, that of algae-based photosynthetic ethanol production. Together the exposure and the analysis of the foundations of two competing guiding images and a wild card in the field of cellulose ethanol provide previously unmatched substantiation of open-endedness of expectations in an emergent technological field.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.008
Uncontrolled keywords: Guiding image; Leitbild; Technological forecasting; Expectations; Anticipation; Generalizations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
T Technology > T Technology (General) > T201 Patents. Trademarks
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Kent Business School (do not use)
Depositing User: Martin Meyer
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 20:26 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 10:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Meyer, Martin S..

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