What Characterizes a System Builder? The Role of Local Energy Companies in Energy System Transformation
Sociotechnical Systems and the Role of System Builders
- the skills to integrate interdependent components into a coherent whole;
- detailed knowledge of client requirements; and
- knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the industry.
2. Materials and Methods
Background: The Linköping Case
3.1. Energy Planning: A Way to Coordinate Processes
Even though energy planning is working fine with TVAB doing it, it is not good to have them doing it. You cannot free yourself from the thought that they are not impartial in their investigations.(Interview 31)
3.2. Enrolling the City Council and Avoiding Conflicts
We usually say that in this municipality we have not only the traditional parties but also the “company party.” Those who are on the board agree and take the company’s stand against the municipality. They don’t see their role as defending the public interest, but rather as defending the company from the municipality.(Interview 37)
But in a way you can say that it was a strategy of TVAB management not to have too many formal requirements, but instead to try to manoeuver between the municipality’s informal demands. In this way, they avoid legal binding contracts, such as general agreements. … For me as the chair it was also beneficial that we didn’t need to put all the details into a contract, because that would probably be too difficult and lead to strong resistance.(Interview 32)
A formal process would eliminate “corridor guiding”—decisions made opaquely and hidden directives from the city council chair. It would be a more transparent process that is easy to follow.(Interview 33)
When it comes to the energy system, it is run in competition today, and we have no ability to govern that.(Interview 34)
Power over electricity and heating lie beyond both the municipal council and the executive council. Due to the deregulation, the power is held by the market player when it comes to production and sales. When it comes to the grid, the power is held by the state authorities … Yes, the power is formally retained by the city council, but they probably leave these issues to TVAB to decide, because that is where the knowledge is.(Interview 4)
3.3. Expanding the Market
You could not do one thing without the other. Without solving the waste problem, there was no material for the production. Without selling the gas, you could not handle the waste. It was all connected.(Interview 12)
- the ability to act as one unit and drive processes in one direction, despite the multitude of individuals representing an organization;
- the ability to act in various decision arenas and coordinate processes to support its interests;
- the ability to use knowledge, skills, and experience to control and coordinate a multitude of policy processes; and
- recognizing opportunities to enroll actors and combine knowledge and experience from different sociotechnical systems.
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix 1: Interviewees
|Interview No||Title||Organization||Active Period|
|4||Chair of the Board||TVAB and City Council||2003–2009|
|5||Deputy Chair of the Board||TVAB and City Council||Current|
|6||Member of Board||TVAB and City Council||1995–2007|
|7||Project leader, district heating||TVAB||1965–2011|
|11||Consultant and project leader||TVAB||Current|
|14||HVAC||Municipal housing company||Current|
|15||Environment coordinator||Municipal real estate company||Current|
|16||HVAC||Municipal real estate company||Current|
|17||Electrical engineer||Municipal real estate company||Current|
|18||Deputy CEO; CEO||Linköping Public Transportation||1987; 1988–1994|
|19||Personal manager||Linköping Public Transportation||1981–1994|
|20||Energy advisor||Municipal Building department||1997–2010|
|21||Energy advisor||Municipal Building department||1980–1987|
|22||Energy advisor||Municipal Building department||1981–1988|
|23||Agenda 21 coordinator||Municipal Environment department||1997–1999|
|24||Agenda 21 manager||Municipal Environment department||1995–2000|
|25||Environmental manager||Municipal Environmental department||1994–2013|
|26||Environmental manager||Municipal Environmental department||1981–1991|
|27||Planning architect||Municipal Planning department||1980–1991|
|28||Planner||Municipal Board’s planning unit||1986–1997|
|29||Planning manager||Municipal Planning department||1977–2005|
|30||Traffic planner||Municipal Planning department||1981–1993|
|31||Chair Municipal Board||Social Democrat||1991 and 1995–2000|
|32||Chair Municipal Board||Center party||1977–1979 and 1985–1988|
|33||Member of City Council||Moderate party||1970–2002|
|34||Member of City Council||Left party||1994–2002|
|35||Substitute member of City Council||Moderate party||1989–1994|
|36||Member of City Council||Center party||1985–2004|
|37||Member of City Council||Center party||Current|
|38||Member of city council||Environmental party||Current|
|39||CEO||Regional public transportation company||1981–2002|
|40||Member of Board||Regional public transportation company||1985–1992|
|41||Biogas consultant||Municipal administration||In periods from 1986|
|42||Official||Consultant in traffic planning||Current|
|43||Manager||Swedish Transport Administration||Current|
|44||CEO||Linköping Public Transportation||1972–1988|
Appendix 2: Interview Guide
- Background information
- Education, how long at this position, previous employment
- Your organization’s role in general
- Do you have any unpublished documentation regarding the project/process?
- Can you give a brief history of the project/process?
- How did discussion get started?
- Where?—who owned the issue?
- Which actor?
- Which issues were on the agenda?
- Education, how long at this position, previous employment
- Inspiration from other projects/actors
- Problem definition and solutions
- Was there a specific problem to be solved?
- Did the problem change over time?
- Were other problem formulations dismissed?
- Which actors brought in what problems?
- Which solutions were presented?
- Which actors suggested what solutions?
- Actors and driving forces
- Which actors were involved and why?
- In what way did different actors get engaged?
- Which interests did different actors bring in?
- Where did the discussions take place?—in which arena?
- Which actor was a driving force?
- Which actor was in opposition?
- Which actor was seen as driving the process?
- Actors who dropped out
- Actors and cooperation
- How did other actors outside the process act (such as other municipalities, energy companies)?
- What did the network look like (involved actors, meta-governor)?
- Actors that created alliances
- How were new actors enrolled?—by whom and why?
- Cooperation culture?
- Something to add
- Other people to interview
- Can I come back if I have further questions?
- United Nations. Agenda 21: Programme of Action for Sustainable Development: Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; Statement of Forest Principles: The Final Text of Agreements Negotiated by Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Unced), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3–14 June 1992; United Nations Department of Public Information: New York, NY, USA, 1993. [Google Scholar]
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements 2011; Earthscan: Washington, DC, USA, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Palm, J. Development of sustainable energy systems in swedish municipalities: A matter of path dependency and power relations. Local Environ. 2006, 11, 445–457. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Fallde, M. Miljö i Tanken?: Policyprocesser vid Övergången till Alternativa Drivmedel i Kollektivtrafiken i Linköping och Helsingborg 1976–2005; Institutionen för Tema, Linköpings Universitet: Linköping, Sweden, 2011. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Magnusson, D. District Heating in a Liberalized Energy Market: A New Order?: Planning and Development in the Stockholm Region, 1978–2012; Department of Thematic Studies—Technology and Social Change, Linköping University: Linköping, Sweden, 2013. [Google Scholar]
- Jahn, D. Environmental performance and policy regimes: Explaining variations in 18 oecd-countries. Policy Sci. 1998, 31, 107–131. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kaijser, A.; Mogren, A.; Steen, P. Att Ändra Riktning: Villkor för ny Energiteknik; Allmänna förl.: Stockholm, Sweden, 1988. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Summerton, J. District Heating Comes to Town: The Social Shaping of an Energy System; Linköping University: Linköping, Sweden, 1992. [Google Scholar]
- Hughes, T.P. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930; Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD, USA, 1983. [Google Scholar]
- Hughes, T.P. The seamless web: Technology, science, etcetera, etcetera. Soc. Stud. Sci. 1986, 16, 281–292. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Summerton, J. Stora tekniska system. En introduktion till forskningsfältet. In Den konstruerade världen: Tekniska system i historiskt perspektiv; Blomqvist, P., Kaijser, A., Eds.; B. Östlings Bokförlag, Symposion: Eslöv, Sweden, 1998; pp. 19–43. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Ingelstam, L. System : Att tänka över samhälle och teknik; Statens energimyndighet: Eskilstuna, Sweden, 2002. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Kaijser, A. I Fädrens Spår: Den Svenska Infrastrukturens Historiska Utveckling och Framtida Utmaningar; Carlsson: Stockholm, Sweden, 1994. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Christopoulos, D.; Ingold, K. Exceptional or just well connected? Political entrepreneurs and brokers in policy making. Eur. Polit. Sci. Rev. 2015, 7, 475–498. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Sabatier, P.A.; Jenkins-Smith, H.C. Policy Change and Learning: An Advocacy Coalition Approach; Westview: Boulder, CO, USA, 1993. [Google Scholar]
- Kingdon, J.W. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies; HarperCollins College Publishers: New York, NY, USA, 1995. [Google Scholar]
- Thomas, L.; Autio, E. Modeling the ecosystem: A meta-synthesis of ecosystem and related literatures. In Presented at the DRUID Society, Copenhagen, Denmark, 19–21 June 2012.
- Miller, R.; Hobday, M.; Leroux-demers, T.; Olleros, X. Innovation in complex systems industries: The case of flight simulation. Ind. Corp. Change 1995, 4, 363–400. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Winch, G. Zephyrs of creative destruction: Understanding the management of innovation in construction. Build. Res. Inf. 1998, 26, 268–279. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Mignon, I. Entering Renewable Electricity Production: An Actor Perspective; Linköping University Electronic Press: Linköping, Sweden, 2014; Volume 1638, p. 70. [Google Scholar]
- Shane, S.; Venkataraman, S. The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Acad. Manag. Rev. 2000, 25, 217–226. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Peredo, A.M.; McLean, M. Social entrepreneurship: A critical review of the concept. J. World Bus. 2006, 41, 56–65. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Gullberg, A.; Kaijser, A. City-building regimes in post-war stockholm. J. Urban Technol. 2004, 11, 13–39. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kaijser, A. Stadens Ljus: Etableringen av de Första Svenska Gasverken; LiberFörlag: Malmö, Sweden, 1986. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Palm, J.; Wihlborg, E. Governed by technology? Urban management of broadband and 3g systems in sweden. J. Urban Technol. 2006, 13, 71–89. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Falkemark, G. Politik, mobilitet och miljö : Om den historiska framväxten av ett ohållbart transportsystem; Gidlund: Möklinta, Sweden, 2006. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Palm, J. Makten över Energin: Policyprocesser i två Kommuner 1977–2001; Gidlund: Linköping, Sweden, 2004. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Flyvbjerg, B. Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2001. [Google Scholar]
- Flyvbjerg, B. Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qual. Inq. 2006, 12, 219–245. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Yin, R.K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods; Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 2003. [Google Scholar]
- Kvale, S.; Brinkmann, S. Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing; Sage Publications: Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Czarniawska, B. Narratives in Social Science Research; Sage Publications: London, UK, 2004. [Google Scholar]
- Coffey, A.; Atkinson, P. Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complementary Research Strategies; Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 1996. [Google Scholar]
- Maxwell, J.A. Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach; Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 2005. [Google Scholar]
- Yin, R.K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods; Sage Publications: London, UK, 2009. [Google Scholar]
- Hallgren, T. Fakta och Argument om Kommunala Företag; Svenska Kommunförbundet: Stockholm, Sweden, 1997. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Paulsson, I.; Riberdahl, C.; Westerling, P. Kommunallagen: Kommentarer och Praxis med Ändringar tom 1 Januari 1998; Kommentus: Stockholm, Sweden, 1997. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Knutsson, H.; Lind, J.-I. Ägarens Skäl i Harmoni med Bolagets Själ; Lund University: Lund, Sweden, 2003. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Pache, A.C.; Santos, F. Inside the hybrid organization: Selective coupling as a response to competing institutional logics. Acad. Manag. J. 2013, 56, 972–1001. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Jay, J. Navigating paradox as a mechanism of change and innovation in hybrid organizations. Acad. Manag. J. 2013, 56, 137–159. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Battilana, J.; Dorado, S. Building sustainable hybrid organizations: The case of commercial microfinance organizations. Acad. Manag. J. 2010, 53, 1419–1440. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Swedish Code of Statutes (SFS). Lag (1977:439) om Kommunal Energiplanering; Riksdagstryck: Stockholm, Sweden, 1977. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- Camner, P.; Ewetz, L. Bilar och Renare Luft: Betänkande. Bil., Hälsorisker till Följd av Bilavgaser: [Underlagsrapport till Bilavgaskommittén]; Liber/Allmänna förl.: Stockholm, Sweden, 1983. (In Swedish) [Google Scholar]
- SOU (Swedish Government Official Reports). Cancer: Orsaker, Förebyggande m. m.: Betänkande; Liber/Allmänna förl.: Stockholm, Sweden, 1984. [Google Scholar]
|Energy planning||Coordinate processes||Knowledge of the energy system; interest to defend the system; skills to integrate interdependent components|
|Debates in city council||Avoid conflicts and enroll actors||Maintaining a company perspective; use of network; knowledge of owner’s requirements|
|Biogas||Expanding the market||Knowledge, skills and networks in two technical systems contributed to recognized opportunity; interests to expand the market through coordination|
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Palm, J.; Fallde, M. What Characterizes a System Builder? The Role of Local Energy Companies in Energy System Transformation. Sustainability 2016, 8, 256. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030256
Palm J, Fallde M. What Characterizes a System Builder? The Role of Local Energy Companies in Energy System Transformation. Sustainability. 2016; 8(3):256. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030256Chicago/Turabian Style
Palm, Jenny, and Magdalena Fallde. 2016. "What Characterizes a System Builder? The Role of Local Energy Companies in Energy System Transformation" Sustainability 8, no. 3: 256. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030256