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Trinity of Change Agency: Connecting Agency and Structure in Studies of Regional Development

Author

Listed:
  • Grillitsch, Markus

    () (Lund University)

  • Rekers, Josephine

    () (Lund University)

  • Sotarauta, Markku

    () (Tampere University)

Abstract

The promise of connecting agency and structure in studies of regional development is to disentangle causal effects and to better understand to what extent and how individuals, groups of individuals, and organisations can shape regional trajectories. This is not without challenges because agency and structure are deep theoretical constructs, which are not easily translated into empirical research. We have devoted a research project to study how agency and structure are connected in the context of regional development and have faced many difficulties on the way. Here, we would like to share our experiences and proposed solutions grouped into six challenges, which were present in all of the 12 comparative case studies in Finland, Norway and Sweden. The challenges refer to the ontology of agency and structure, the research design, the time period of study, the spatial scale, the research instrument, and the data collection.

Suggested Citation

  • Grillitsch, Markus & Rekers, Josephine & Sotarauta, Markku, 2019. "Trinity of Change Agency: Connecting Agency and Structure in Studies of Regional Development," Papers in Innovation Studies 2019/12, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2019_012
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bob Jessop, 2001. "Institutional Re(turns) and the Strategic – Relational Approach," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 33(7), pages 1213-1235, July.
    2. Raghu Garud & Arun Kumaraswamy & Peter Karnøe, 2010. "Path Dependence or Path Creation?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 760-774, June.
    3. Grillitsch, Markus & Martynovich, Mikhail & Dahl Fitjar, Rune & Haus-Reve, Silje, 2019. "Why bother about region-specific growth patterns and how to identify them?," Papers in Innovation Studies 2019/10, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation Research.
    4. Grillitsch, Markus & Sotarauta, Markku, 2018. "Regional Growth Paths: From Structure to Agency and Back," Papers in Innovation Studies 2018/1, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation Research.
    5. Ron Boschma, 2017. "Relatedness as driver of regional diversification: a research agenda," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 351-364, March.
    6. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2006. "Path dependence and regional economic evolution," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 395-437, August.
    7. Ron Boschma, 2017. "Relatedness as driver behind regional diversification: a research agenda," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1702, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jan 2017.
    8. Michael Storper, 2011. "Why do regions develop and change? The challenge for geography and economics," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 333-346, March.
    9. Poole, Marshall Scott & Van de Ven, Andrew H. & Dooley, Kevin & Holmes, Michael E., 2000. "Organizational Change and Innovation Processes: Theory and Methods for Research," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195131987.
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    11. Markus Grillitsch & Josephine V Rekers, 2016. "How does multi-scalar institutional change affect localized learning processes? A case study of the med-tech sector in Southern Sweden," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(1), pages 154-171, January.
    12. Markus Grillitsch, 2015. "Institutional Layers, Connectedness and Change: Implications for Economic Evolution in Regions," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(10), pages 2099-2124, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    agency; structure; regional development; research design; comparative case study; critical junctures; key events;

    JEL classification:

    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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