Government policy and corporate strategy in managing risk and uncertainty on technology deployment and development in the regulated market in the UK - a study of biofuels
Chew, Boon Cheong
Technological change when a large social technology is under the processes of deployment and development are complex and uncertain. In this dynamic context, risks and uncertainties (R&U) incurred are unavoidable, which might obstruct the progression of the technology implementation and innovation. Hence, a set of mechanism and strategy are required from the stakeholders to facilitate these two processes and to deal with R&U arise. This research studied biofuels in the UK by looking at the context of a regulated market. The Scottish Government and two oil companies (BP and Shell) were selected as cases studied. Subsequently, an overarching research question was formulated to drive the research “How these major actors interact with one and another to deal with R&U arising from technological change during a technology deployment and development?” By using Social Shaping of Technology (SST), integrating with Risk Governance and the Risk Regulated Regime; an interdisciplinary concept has been developed. The application of SST was to broaden the risk governance and risk regulated regime, helped to look at R&U of technological change from a social dimension. The research was grounded on social constructionism under an exploratory study. A qualitative case study approach was adopted, backed by three data collection methods-interview, observation and document analysis. This research was aimed to investigate the driving forces for the government and oil companies in taking biofuels as the current energy source for transport; their roles and responsibilities in biofuels deployment and development; interactions taken place, R&U faced during two processes, as well as counteracting strategy implemented to deal with these R&U. After that, explanation building and time series analysis were adopted for data analysis. The research points out there were different types of R&U (expected and unexpected) arose when a technology undergoes the processes of technological change. These different types of R&U required different strategies to deal with. Therefore, the regulators have to set a clear direction for a technology deployment and development, as well as to have the control mechanism with precautionary principle instituted, in order to facilitate the technology implementation and innovation. Meanwhile, oil companies are collaborating with the governments, to commit consistent biofuels supply which fulfil the requirements set by the regulators; as well as established various types of partnership with biotechnology institutions/agriculture industry to conduct the next generation biofuels (NBG) R&D. Such seamless interactions and cooperation, not only aim to reduce the possibilities of R&U occurrence, to minimise the impacts, but also to set a path for the ease of technology adoption and innovation. Therefore, apart from satisfying their respective internal interests of political and economic gains; these two actors have to safeguard the social, economic and environmental benefits for the interests of the general public.
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