A Mirror of Social Development: Industry decisions regarding new technologies

author: Jennifer Geertsma, University of Massachusetts Amherst
.administrator: Michelle Sagan Gonçalves, University of Massachusetts Amherst
published: Feb. 25, 2009,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 2939

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This study examines how organizations manage risks presented by new technologies and the impact the institutional environment has on this governance process. Micro and nanotechnology research and development (R&D) presents an important case in which to study the influence of institutional environments on organizations. Our survey addresses the perspectives and actions firms take to address the potential importance of environmental health and safety, public perceptions and regulation in their R&D decisions. Recent public reports have raised concern about a seeming lack of attention to potential governance and regulatory concerns within the industry. Our preliminary survey data collected from Massachusetts based firms supports the view that companies' R&D decisions concerning nanotechnology are not usually influenced by environmental/ occupational health and safety concerns, or consumer and general public perceptions. Companies are sensitive to federal and state regulations although these are a minor concern for companies surveyed.

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