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Ontological uncertainty and innovation

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  • David Lane

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  • Robert Maxfield

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between uncertainty and innovation. It distinguishes three kinds of uncertainty: truth uncertainty, semantic uncertainty, and ontological uncertainty, the latter of which is particularly important for innovation processes. The paper then develops some implications of ontological uncertainty for innovation processes at three levels of organization, by means of three theories: a narrative theory of action at the level of individual economic actors; the theory of generative relationships at the meso-level of agent interaction; and the theory of scaffolding structures at the macro-level of market systems. These theories are illustrated by means of examples drawn from a prospective study on the emergence of a new market system around a technology for distributed control. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Suggested Citation

  • David Lane & Robert Maxfield, 2004. "Ontological uncertainty and innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 3-50, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:15:y:2004:i:1:p:3-50 DOI: 10.1007/s00191-004-0227-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kurt Dopfer, 2011. "Mesoeconomics: A Unified Approach to Systems Complexity and Evolution," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economic Complexity of Technological Change, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. A. Arrighetti & S. Curatolo, 2010. "Opportunismo e coordinamento: soluzioni regolative e istituzionali," Economics Department Working Papers 2010-EP02, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    3. G. Fagiolo & A. Roventini., 2009. "On the Scientific Status of Economic Policy: A Tale of Alternative Paradigms," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 6.

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