Social Topography of Innovation Space: On the Role of Institutions, Networks and Cognitive Space

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:25
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Borut RONCEVIC, School of Advanced Social Studies, Slovenia
Victor CEPOI, School of Advanced Social Studies, Slovenia
Rapid increase in the extent and speed of globalization, increasingly blurred boundaries between the local and the global and the exponential development of information technologies introduced a completely new dimension to the dynamics of societal changes, creating the conditions of ‘hypercomplexity’. In this process, technological and social innovations play a double role. On one hand, they contribute to this condition, as even relatively minor local innovations can have disrupting impact on a global scale. On the other, the ability of societies to create innovations is becoming increasingly important determinant of their adaptability to these conditions. Sociological research, equipped with tools for understanding the factors influencing societal processes, seems to be particularly effective in explaining innovative processes and their outcomes.

In this paper, we are analysing the factors shaping the social topography of innovation space. The theoretical background is Jens Beckert’s theory of social fields. Hence, we model the influence of three social forces – institutions, social networks and cognitive frames – on social topography of innovation space. On the basis of data compiled from a variety of international comparative sources (Global Competitiveness Report, World Competitiveness Yearbook, Innovation Union Scoreboard etc.) we test our model by conducting a comparative analysis on a sample of 30 countries. We conduct, firstly, structural equation modeling to analyze the causal relations within the proposed model. Secondly, fuzzy-set analysis helps us to combine the theoretical concepts with the empirical data and identify the necessary and sufficient conditions and the possible combinations of these conditions in determining the social topography of innovation space. We conclude the paper by examining how we can use the three social forces in purposeful attempt to improve innovative performance.