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Beyond a better mousetrap: a cultural analysis of the adoption of ethanol in Brazil


  • Nardon, L.
  • Aten, K.

    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)


Complex technologies develop within technological systems, which include, in addition to discrete technologies, organizations such as manufacturing firms and investment banks; scientific elements, such as teaching and research programs; and legislative elements, such as regulations. The tangible aspects of such technologies do not alone determine their end configuration or success; rather, social and cultural practices, expectations, and relationships influence the development of technologies just as technologies influence these factors. We argue that culture provides actors with logic principles with which to construct action, influencing the trajectory of the technological system development, in a reinforcing system of path dependency. We analyze the case of ethanol adoption in Brazil and find that Brazil’s adoption of an ethanol-fueled transportation system derives from a pattern of adaptation in response to salient issues. We argue that a unique characteristic of Brazilian culture, the Brazilian Jeitinho - a logic of action of adaptation - influenced the development of the Brazil’s ethanol-fueled transportation system.

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  • Nardon, L. & Aten, K., 2007. "Beyond a better mousetrap: a cultural analysis of the adoption of ethanol in Brazil," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2007-18, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
  • Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2007-18

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