Theorizing Innovation Communities

Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


This chapter connects directly to the current state of research on innovation communities and discusses their institutional foundations, their implementation in the context of fields, as well as their practical implications in terms of agency and entrepreneurship. Against this background, I attempt to grasp innovation communities as a distinct type of meso-level order. Here, the general conflicts that shape the institutional foundations of collective innovation play out in the context of gradually settled fields, where community and business logics compete over the legitimate ways to shape the particular innovation at stake. Consequently, the resulting fields reflect an ambiguous institutional environment that affects not only the general conditions under which innovation communities create and develop potentially innovative artifacts (like 3D printers), but also the particular opportunities and struggles that accompany corresponding approaches for commercial exploitation. As the dilemma of entrepreneurship in open hardware usually refers to community members that develop entrepreneurial ambitions to commercialize community-based innovations, Chap.  3 also emphasizes the micro level of individual actors and their agentic capacities to relieve tensions within a complex and potentially contradictive institutional environment.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technische UniversitätBerlinGermany

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