When the informal says yes but the formal says no : The institutional environment’s effect on the category creation of solar micro production
Abstract: We examine the influence of the institutional environment on the creation of a market category, more specifically the category for solar micro production in Sweden. Due to the increasing climate threat, the interest for renewable energy has grown. In Sweden, there is large potential within the category for solar energy produced by individuals, referred to as solar micro production, but it is currently increasing from a low level. We argue that the issue is attributed to the institutional environment, and the gap between the formal and informal institutions. The research on the creation of new market categories is extensive, but the institutional environments’ influence on the process has been given little attention. The purpose of our thesis is thus to increase knowledge regarding the creation of market categories by examining the influence of the institutional environment. The empirical data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 9 electricity supplier representatives. Our main findings show that the informal institutions have facilitated legitimacy of the market category while the formal institutions have constrained economic growth. Thus, our argument of an institutional gap is confirmed which has been shown to hamper the creation and development process of the market category for solar micro production. The results of our thesis add to existing theories regarding market category creation.
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