Call for Papers
Resistance to Innovation and Technological Change


The Center of the Governance of Change (CGC) at IE is seeking contributions from established or promising younger scholars for its new research program on Resistance to Technological Change.

This project aims to enhance our understanding of the social, economic, political and psychological factors driving resistance against innovation and the adoption of new technologies from a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses the perspectives of the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

Contributions will be remunerated ($2,000 to 3,000 USD), published as a collective volume by a top academic press, and featured in a public conference to be held in 2019.

If you are interested, please send your CV and abstract to: no later than 1st March 2019.

The Program

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  • Research Topic

    The social and regulatory backlash experienced by companies like Uber, Facebook, and Airbnb is only now beginning. In view of the fast pace and large scale of today’s technological innovations (AI, robotics, IoT, etc.), the prospect for disruption and resistance to technological change is unprecedented. However, resistance to technological innovation and new business models is not new. It has indeed a long history in the West: attacks on Gutenberg’s printing press in the late 15th century or the protests of horse carriage drivers against motorized cars at the beginning of the 20th Century precede the current growing discontent with technological change.
    Resistance can take various forms – from employee strikes to imposing regulatory barriers – and, if unaddressed, it can hinder gains in productivity and, ultimately, stall economic growth. More importantly, not looking at the ultimate causes for societal resistance to change can lead businesses and governments to underestimate the stress generated by accelerated transformation on people’s lives. Reconciling technological disruption, societal pressure to maintain continuity and status quo, and the slowness of institutional and political adjustment is one of today’s biggest challenges.
    Despite its importance, this topic has been largely overlooked by academia, think tanks and the business world more broadly. Scholars have analyzed resistance to change at the organizational and the individual level, but scarce attention has been paid to the reactions of social groups to change. This project aims to fill this gap by creating a transdisciplinary and multi-level theory of technological change and resistance in social systems, which will analyze the factors and societal forces that work against technology adoption, the consequences of this resistance, and the best mechanisms to overcome it. The end result will be an original and solid body of academic research that will also help governments and technological companies in the drafting of their development strategies.

  • Papers

    We are seeking high-quality, original research papers in English of 5,000 – 6,000 words in length (excluding footnotes) which must meet, at the CGC’s discretion, the overall standard expected of peer-reviewed academic articles.

    Rather than narrowly focused studies (e.g. the resistance to new diagnosis software among doctors in Canada) we are interested in broad studies that address the topic from one (or more) of the following disciplines:

    • Anthropology
    • Behavioral Sciences
    • Economics
    • History
    • Law
    • Management & Business studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

    Each paper should provide 1) a brief literature review, 2) and a comprehensive overview of the main insights that the selected discipline has to offer on this matter. Questions to be addressed include (but are not limited to):

    • Why do certain technologies prompt more social rejection than others?
    • What factors and circumstances lead to this situation?
    • Is it just a matter of job destruction and displacement of traditional sectors, or there are other factors involved? (e. g. societal mistrust, CoP’s pressure, inequality, time ranges of change, fear of the unknown, user inadaptability, ethical-religious- identity-based factors, and so on.
    • What mechanisms use social groups to stop the adoption rejected innovations (e.g. law & regulation, social protest, political pressure, consumer behaviour)? Do they work? Can innovation be stopped?
  • Contact

    If you have any questions please, email Ms. Sol Fonruge  (