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Failed institution building: understanding the interplay between agency, social skill and context

Edwards, Tim and Jones, Oswald (2008) Failed institution building: understanding the interplay between agency, social skill and context. Scandinavian journal of management, 42 (1). pp. 44-54. ISSN 0956-5221

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Abstract

This article examines the idea of institution building in terms of the interplay between agentic orientation, social skill and context. It argues that a relational approach to agency provides a useful framework for understanding the limits of social skill in explaining such processes. A detailed account, using the lens supplied by the idea of ‘agentic orientation’ helps to elaborate the failed formation of NewBuC, a public–private partnership designed to give assistance to entrepreneurs keen to establish technology-based companies on a UK Regional Science Park. This approach is seen to provide a conception of agency that allows for critical reflection at the micro-level around the role of champions and social skill in institutional analysis.

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