This unit explored the institutional contexts that frame and shape technology policy making and technology innovation. It considers how different organisational configurations influence the way innovation processes operate. Thus, it considers technology policy and institutional factors together in order to understand the resulting organisational configurations. Institutions are seen broadly, as both rules and practices such as the way markets operate, as well as more concrete forms such as regulatory bodies and educational institutions. It has shown that informal institutions that evolve locally can often be more effective at regulating use of CPR than government interventions as demonstrated by the example of Alanya fishers. It considered ‘clusters’ and how they provide a very effective interorganisational form of innovation and competitiveness, which is strongly influenced by institutional factors. Associations, NGOs and networks are important organisational forms that vary in their characteristics but help shape the institutional and organisational context for innovation and policy making. Lastly, communities of practice have become a particularly useful way of examining how knowledge is reproduced and managed within organisational and interorganisational networks. The unit has also engaged increasingly with research design and research tools in preparation for the focus of units 4 and 5.

4.1 Communities of practice