Institutional analysis of research and socialization in housing : a preliminary exploration
Author(s)Furlong, Michael; Nutt-Powell, Thomas Evan
This paper is one of a series prepared under the sponsorship of DOE's Photovoltaic(PV) Program as part of the institutional analysis of housing. It considers research and socialization functions of housing. In addition to a brief discussion of the theory and methods of institutional analysis, the paper presents a brief historical review of building in the US, identi- fying an historic heritage for the independence of institutional entities in the building industry. A review of the building industry's response to innovation (including a brief description of the introduction of PVC piping) suggests that the industry may be characterized as fragmented and localized, with many actors, each responsive to the dispositions of all others (especially the ultimate source of motivation, the consumer and his/her purchasing power). The building industry is structured such that no single actor predominates, but that any or several may be the source of either facilitation or obstruction of innovation. Overcoming economic and technological constraints is not enough. Given the normative importance of housing, anything identified as "new and different" will meet resistance, while innovations labelled as providing "the same with less uncertainty" will find a more willing audience.
MIT Energy Laboratory
Housing |x Research |z United States., Construction industry |z United States., Housing |z United States.
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