Tentative governing of fuel cell innovation in a dynamic network of expectations

Björn Budde, Kornelia Konrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Expectations and visions are known to be forceful elements in the governance of emerging innovations. However, visions and expectations are prone to change, thus creating challenges for strategy and policy processes. Actors have to deal with the dynamics of expectations, either ex-post when expectations have changed, or ex-ante, for instance by taking possible future changes into account in the design of policy measures. This article follows the dynamics of fuel cell expectations in the German policy discourse (1994-2011). Firstly, we study how fuel cell expectations were discursively related to a wider network of expectations regarding developments in the context of fuel cells. Secondly, we examine whether and how policy measures referred to these expectations, and how policy dealt with the dynamic evolution of expectations. We show that fuel cell expectations alone were not sufficient to trigger substantial policy support; only once they linked up with visions and expectations about the future energy system and further context developments were supportive policy measures initiated. Furthermore, although we observed dedicated and successful efforts to stabilize policy support for fuel cells pre-empting possible changes in expectations, governance still had to adapt to changes in the network of expectations, in particular the rise in expectations for battery-electric vehicles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1112
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Research Field

  • Former Research Field - Innovation Systems and Policy


  • Sociology of expectations
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Fuel cells Electric vehicles
  • Governance


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