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The framing of green innovations—a comparative topic modeling study on the public frames of the electric vehicle in Germany and UK

Author: Bohn, S., & Rogge, JC.
Published in: Journal of Cleaner Production
Year: 2022
Type: Academic articles
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.132499

In the innovation framing literature, scholars argue that green innovations are being challenged by legitimacy barriers associated with strong lock-in effects on the fossil-based economy. To break down barriers and create legitimacy, we stress the role of demarcation frames. Demarcation frames we argue are an important supplement to the established framing mechanisms that signal alignment and similarity with existing systems. Building on a machine-learning topic modeling approach, we investigate the development of the perception and meaning of the electric vehicle over a period of 27 years—i.e., its framing. By using public media data to undertake a systematic cross-country study in Germany and the UK, we show how and through which combinations of framing mechanisms the electric vehicle overcame the initial skepticism that was closely linked to the internal combustion vehicle. Hence, our research contributes to a better understanding of the framing processes around green innovations in the carbon-based economy. Firstly, we offer a novel analytical perspective focusing on the overarching public framing of green innovations. Secondly, we contribute to the literature by describing the theoretical implications and functionality of demarcation frames to overcome lock-ins. And thirdly, we discuss policy implications to support the dissemination of green innovations and propose future research avenues relevant for the green innovation and innovation framing field.

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Stephan Bohn, Dr.

Senior Researcher & Project Lead: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society


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