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Social Embeddedness of Technology: Prospective Research Areas

Author

Listed:
  • Mariya Dobryakova

    () (Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Russian Federation))

  • Zoya Kotelnikova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics (Russian Federation))

Abstract

Strategic documents that reflect future S&T priorities are often formulated without sufficiently taking into account the social context of S&T developments. The paper discusses the capabilities of social sciences for a deeper contextual analysis when setting priorities and, consequently, for helping to make the diffusion of advanced technologies more efficient. The methodological basis of the analysis is the concept of the social construction of technology (SCOT). The list of critical technologies of the Russian Federation serves as an illustrative example of a strategic document defining S&T priorities. The authors point out developments with the highest potential for social embeddedness, which could be fully used only if coupled with an understanding of related social matters. These developments are divided into four groups (clusters): biomedicine and health, energy, environment, and transport. We identify for each cluster the social groups that would be affected by the relevant technologies, the potential for conflicts of interest and for formats of interaction. The paper proposes prospective areas of sociological research, allowing a deeper understanding of the real context in which new technologies might be developed and implemented, and thus may help optimize efforts for the diffusion of these technologies. We conclude that many prospective technologies, which by nature belong to the 'physical' world, would be more efficient if their implementation, and possibly also development, were accompanied (and in some cases preceded) by the outputs of relevant social science and humanities studies. In this sense, we propose the use of the 'social embeddedness of technology' concept. We argue that this is an important factor affecting the success of technology implementation, and sometimes, technology configuration.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariya Dobryakova & Zoya Kotelnikova, 2015. "Social Embeddedness of Technology: Prospective Research Areas," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 9(1), pages 6-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:fsight:v:9:y:2015:i:1:p:6-19
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    File URL: http://foresight-journal.hse.ru/data/2015/04/07/1096413223/1-Dobryakova-6-19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    4. Eszter Bartis, 2007. "Two suggested extensions for SCOT: Technological frames and metaphors," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 29(1), pages 123-138, April.
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    7. Schoemaker, Paul J.H. & Day, George S. & Snyder, Scott A., 2013. "Integrating organizational networks, weak signals, strategic radars and scenario planning," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 80(4), pages 815-824.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social construction of technology (SCOT); diffusion of innovation; social embeddedness; social sciences; humanities; prospective research areas;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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