Other Unpublished Work | 2011

Innovation and Regulative Ambiguities in the U.S. Geothermal Power Sector

by Shon R. Hiatt

Abstract

While prior institutional research has focused on institutional ambiguity as an exogenous condition under which organizations exercise agency, this study examines the state's exercise of agency in making legal institutions more or less ambiguous and its impact on entrepreneurship. Our central thesis is that technical and political uncertainty can explain variation in legal ambiguity. Empirically focusing on legal definitions of new technologies in the U.S. geothermal power sector as a context, we find that state policymakers' prior exposure to a variety of new technologies led to unambiguous definitions, while greater resource competition and incumbents opposing geothermal technology fostered ambiguous definitions. In turn, greater legal ambiguity negatively impacted geothermal power facility foundings and adoption of advanced geothermal technologies. Implications of these findings for technology entrepreneurship, public policy, and managerial practice are also discussed.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Policy; Energy Sources; Innovation and Invention; Energy Industry; United States;

Citation:

Hiatt, Shon R. "Innovation and Regulative Ambiguities in the U.S. Geothermal Power Sector." 2011.