Reference : Renewable Energy Source Cooperatives (REScoops): Assets, Obstacles and Diffusion Stra...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Business & economic sciences : General management & organizational theory
Business & economic sciences : Social economics
Renewable Energy Source Cooperatives (REScoops): Assets, Obstacles and Diffusion Strategies
[en] Coopératives d'énergie renouvelable (REScoops) : atouts, limites et stratégies de diffusion
Huybrechts, Benjamin mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC-Ecole de gestion : UER > Management en économie sociale >]
Mertens de Wilmars, Sybille mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC-Ecole de gestion : UER > Social Entrepreneurship >]
3rd EMES Research Conference on Social Enterprise
2-5 juillet 2011
EMES European Research Network
[en] renewable energy ; cooperative ; diffusion
[fr] énergies renouvelables ; coopérative ; modèle organisationnel
[en] While the ability of social enterprises to generate innovative solutions to social and environmental needs is increasingly documented (eg., Defourny 2001; Harrisson & Vézina 2006; Nicholls 2006), little is known about the processes through with social enterprises diffuse and institutionalize their innovations. These processes are important not only to understand institutionalized fields of practice (eg. Bouchard 2006), but also –and even more– to inform the creation of new fields through the diffusion (or „scaling up‟) of social innovations (Maguire et al. 2004; Mulgan et al. 2007).
Institutionalization dynamics are at the core of „institutional theory‟, more particularly its recent agency-based developments, commonly grouped under the banner of „institutional entrepreneurship‟ (Battilana et al. 2009) or „institutional work‟ (Lawrence & Suddaby 2006). This approach seems particularly adequate to understand the emergence of new fields through the development of interorganizational collaborations, which enable the diffusion and replication of structures and practices across the field (Lawrence et al. 2002; Phillips et al. 2000). Fields centered on social innovations offer good examples of these dynamics (Mair & Marti 2006), with collaborations observed both among social enterprises pioneering the
innovation (Davies 2009) and between social enterprises, governments (eg. Young 2000) and businesses (eg. Di Domenico et al. 2009; Le Ber & Branzei 2010).
This paper examines the role of social enterprises in creating and diffusing innovative institutional arrangements in the field of renewable energy sources (RES). While social (ecological) movements have been instrumental in shifting the public attention towards the need for alternative energies (Sine & Lee 2009), the sector has in most countries become dominated by corporate actors experienced in building large-scale RES projects. In an attempt to counter the corporate hegemony and to protect available lands, a range of citizen initiatives have emerged under the term of REScoops (Coen 2010). Although not very numerous, these initiatives seem particularly efficient in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and may reach a large scale at the local level. Moreover, they seem particularly innovative in terms of organizational models, conceived as multi-stakeholder and cooperative schemes involving citizens, municipalities and local economic players. In the contest around new field boundaries and dominance (Santos & Eisenhardt 2009), including recognition by the government, we examine the legitimating strategies of social enterprises in having their organizational arrangements (= social innovations) recognized as a superior avenue to the management of RES (= technological innovation), especially in terms of democracy and participation.
Centre d'Économie Sociale - CES
REScoop 20-20-20

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