Emergence and development of the cleantech industry: A cognitive construction approach

Jukka Pekka Bergman, Arash Hajikhani, Kirsimarja Blomqvist

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Understanding the development of the industry creates major challenges for cleantech firms looking to renew their strategies to meet the continuously changing business conditions. Recent studies have argued that energy sector transition is both a technological and a social phenomenon that needs to be looked at from more holistic and comparative perspectives. The cognitive construction view of industry shows promise in opening up the role of managerial cognition and social construction in this regard. The cognitive construction view of industry suggests that the collective changes in firms' beliefs about market boundaries drive development of the industry. Drawing on this view, we investigate cleantech firms' shared beliefs about the key technologies to recognize development patterns in the collective strategy frames and propose an approach to capture the emergence and development of the industry. For this purpose, the study analyzes longitudinal data collected from the annual reports of the incumbent firms operating within the cleantech industry. The results of the study found two sequentially developing phases in industry-level belief structures regarding renewable energy, sustainability, and digitalization as the key technology areas among the firms. In addition, it was possible to trace the differences between the firms’ beliefs about technology development to their different social networks. Thus, the findings suggest that the cognitive construction view of industry provides an opportunity to shed light on the complex dynamics of energy transition and envision industry development within the fast-changing industry conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1170-1181
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Cleantech industry
    • Cognition
    • Digitalization
    • Energy transition
    • Renewable energy
    • Sustainability


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