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

By Tim Edwards and Ossie Jones


Summary 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.Relational approach Agency Failed institution building Social skill Champions Regional Science Park

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