A framework for analysis of multi-mode interaction among technologies with examples from the history of alternative transport fuels in Sweden
The relationship between technologies is a salient feature of the literature on technical change and terms like 'dominant design' and 'technology lock-in' are part of the standard vocabulary and put competition among technologies in focus. The aim of this paper is to provide an account of the wide range of interaction modes beyond competition that is prevalent in transition processes and to develop a conceptual framework to facilitate more detailed and nuanced descriptions of technology interaction. Besides competition, we identify five other basic modes of interaction: symbiosis, neutralism, parasitism, commensalism and amensalism. Further, we describe interaction as overlapping value chains. Defining a technology as a socio-technical system extending in material, organisational and conceptual dimensions allows for an even more detailed description of interaction. The conceptual framework is tested on and illustrated by a case study of interaction among alternative transport fuels in Sweden 1974-2004.
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