Tilting at Windmills? The Environmental Movement and the Emergency
of the U.S. wind Energy Sector
June 6, 3:00 – 4:30 PM
Professor of Management and Organizations
Wesley Sine’s research focuses on the emergence of new economic sectors. He explores issues related to institutional change, industry and technology evolution, technology entrepreneurship, and new venture structure and strategy. He has examined a diverse set of economic sectors ranging from the electric power industry to the emergence of the Internet. Sine has published, provisionally accepted, or papers forthcoming in the following journals: Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Research Policy. Teaching interests include entrepreneurship, commercializing university technology, new venture growth, the management of technology and innovation, and organizational change.
Research in entrepreneurship has said little about the impact of large-scale social movements on entrepreneurial processes. Similarly, social movement scholars have paid little attention to how large-scale social movements external to any one industry can influence the creation of new market opportunities. We theorize that through the construction and propagation of cognitive frameworks, norms, values, and regulatory structures, and by offering preexisting social structure, social movement organizations influence whether entrepreneurs attempt to start ventures in emerging sectors. These activities also moderate the effect of material-resource environmental factors on entrepreneurship. We explore these claims in the context of the emergent U.S. wind energy sector, 1978-1992. We find that greater numbers of environmental movement organization members increased nascent entrepreneurial activity in a state and that this effect was mediated by favorable state regulatory policy. Greater membership numbers also enhanced the effects of important natural resources, market conditions, and skilled human capital on entrepreneurial activity. Taken together, these results have important implications for the study of social movements, entrepreneurship, and institutional theory.