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Pathways to Sustainable Energy as an (Inter-)Organisational Challenge: A Relational Study of Partnerships for Off-grid Renewable Energy in Central America

Kruckenberg, Lena Johanna (2015) Pathways to Sustainable Energy as an (Inter-)Organisational Challenge: A Relational Study of Partnerships for Off-grid Renewable Energy in Central America. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Off-grid renewable energy technologies have great potential for achieving sustainable energy for all, yet their diffusion in the Global South has proven difficult. While multi-stakeholder partnerships have come to be seen as vehicles for overcoming these difficulties, little is known about the inter-organisational relationships that constitute them. An exploratory study of these partnerships provides opportunities for theorising the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in path creation. This transdisciplinary study investigates the (inter-)organisational challenges faced by organisations that seek to create pathways to sustainable energy access for rural populations in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. An extended case study of partnerships involving local non-governmental organisations and social enterprises aims to develop a better understanding of the opportunities and limitations of such partnerships. A constructivist research strategy and relational framework guide an investigation of pathway creation as a social process accomplished by hybrid organisations that are embedded in relationships with one another and in a wider selection environment. This study shows that the configuration, quality and strength of inter-organisational relationships – and the way in which partnerships align incentives and visions, and approach knowledge gaps – can determine their potential. The micro-level enquiry into how local renewable energy organisations navigate an organisational environment shaped by partnerships leads to the development of novel methods for mapping inter-organisational partnerships and networks. Based on a comparative analysis of the relational embeddedness of four Central American renewable energy organisations, the study presents insights into how these organisations adopt hybrid operational models, and use hybrid relationships, to address (inter-)organisational challenges of pathway creation in a selection environment characterised by a blurring of sectoral boundaries. These findings inform a framework for hybrid organising as a cross-level phenomenon, which lends itself to an extension of theorising on path(way) creation as an embedded (inter-)organisational process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: sustainable energy; low-carbon development; renewable energy technologies; rural electrification; NGO partnerships; cross-sector partnerships; North-South technology transfer; development pathways; path creation; hybrid organisations; visual network research; qualitative network research; inter-organisational networks; Central America; relational sociology; inter-organisational relationships
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.684526
Depositing User: Dr Lena Johanna Kruckenberg
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 11:05
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12884

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