Collective agency as a leverage point in multi-actor innovation

Two case studies from Swedish horticulture



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


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.


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2023-08-28 — Updated on 2023-10-02


How to Cite

Blix Germundsson, L., & Ljung, M. (2023). Collective agency as a leverage point in multi-actor innovation: Two case studies from Swedish horticulture. Agricultural and Food Science, 32(3), 166–178. (Original work published August 28, 2023)
Received 2023-04-05
Accepted 2023-08-10
Published 2023-10-02