Center for Advanced Management

Links und Funktionen



Prof. Gurneeta Vasudeva Singh (University of Minnesota)


Datum: 12. Juni 2018 / 20. Juni 2018

Zeit: 12.00 - 13.30 Uhr / 16.00 - 17.30 Uhr

Ort: Kaulbachstr. 45, Raum 006 / Raum 202

Titel: Stigmatized Categories and Environmentally Sustainable Technologies: How did the diesel emissions scandal accelerate the transition to a Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) industry in the U.S.?


“A fundamental principle behind technological change is that new technological designs emerge because they offer significant cost and performance improvements over existing technologies. Sustainable technological innovation differs from this classic model of technological change because the goal is not only to maximize the utility of producers or users of the technology, but to do so on the condition that it preserves public goods. Despite their environmental benefits, technological innovations such as electric vehicles, for instance, suffer from higher costs, low-performance parameters, and the lack of supporting infrastructure compared to conventional vehicle technologies. Under what conditions do producers shift their attention and resources towards the development of sustainable technological innovations?
We suggest that a negative industry shock concerning the existing technology can have dual effects on firms’ technological choices within the industry. Drawing on institutional theory and the categorization literature, a negative event concerning the existing technology can challenge the collective legitimacy of certain firms within an industry and accelerate the development of new sustainable technologies. Such a shift to sustainable technologies allows these firms to weaken their association with the stigmatized technological category within the industry. Importantly, the benefits derived from public goods, in particular those attributed to sustainable technologies, enhances these firms’ socio-political legitimacy. We label this type of outcome as a socially positive consequence of a negative industry event. At the same time, firms within an industry differ regarding their association with the stigmatized category, and may, therefore, encounter less of a collective legitimacy crisis. In addition, these aforementioned firms may see the negative event as a competitive opportunity to take over the market share lost by the stigmatized category of firms. Accordingly, we argue that firms that compete with the stigmatized category will increase their investments in the existing technology to fill in the remaining market demand. We examine these hypotheses in the context of a nascent ZEV industry in the U.S. Empirical analysis of the total vehicle models introduced in the U.S. during the period spanning 2004 to 2018 reveals that even though the heavily affected automakers by the scandal show a late introduction of ZEVs, these same automakers significantly increased the number of new ZEV model introductions in response to the diesel emissions scandal. This contrasts to the less affected automakers that show an early introduction of new ZEV models followed by an incremental increase. Moreover, automakers that are less affected by the diesel vehicle scandal introduced more diesel-powered vehicles following the diesel scandal in 2015. Our findings suggest that stigmatization and categorization in light of a negative industry event are critical factors affecting firms' transition to environmentally sustainable technologies.”