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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Collective agency as a leverage point in multi-actor innovation: Two case studies from Swedish horticulture

Germundsson, Lisa Blix; Ljung, Magnus


The aim of this study is to investigate how horticultural firms meet their need for innovation within the innovation system. A comparative process ethnography approach was applied to two cases of long-term collaboration between multiple actors in Swedish horticulture. The retrospective reconstruction of the cases through documentation and interviews allowed for triangulation of data in a grounded theory approach. The leverage points of the developing collaborative processes were found to be; having agency and a network approach, the forming of collective agency through social learning, enhancing resource access, and operationalization of results. The concept of leverage points is useful for understanding evolutionary changes in multi-actor collaborations. The use of the concept of collective agency contributes to the understanding of the dynamics of demand articulation, illustrating a reciprocal process between the actors' individual agencies, and evolving over time through their social learning. The results point to a need for policymakers and practitioners to develop a broader understanding of how actors work in the innovation system to enhance knowledge development and innovation.


agricultural innovation systems; AKIS; demand articulation; collaboration; social learning; evolutionary perspective

Published in

Agricultural and Food Science
2023, Volume: 32, number: 3, pages: 166-178