The Transformative Capacity of Public Sector Organizations in Sustainability Transitions: A Conceptualization

Publikation: Working paperForskning


Although public sector organizations (such as municipalities, executive agencies, and publicly controlled utilities), are pivotal in sustainability transitions, a conceptualization of their transformative capacity is underdeveloped. Several strands of literature have started to pay attention to the concept of ‘capacity’, but these remain disjointed. Conducting a literature review, the present paper identifies variations and understudied aspects of the concept. It proposes a holistic conceptual framework based on three elements: their organizational roles, resources, and skills. Hence, the transformative capacity of a public sector organization is defined by the interaction between its purposeful enactment of various roles when exercising change agency, and by the deployment and development of its dynamic skills, when mobilizing the internal and external resources at its disposal. The framework offers the opportunity for a granular understanding of what specific combinations of those elements are at play in the implementation of highly diverse sustainability actions. This has important theoretical and empirical implications, as well as practical implications for more targeted transformative capacity-building efforts.
UdgiverLund University
Antal sider47
StatusUdgivet - 2023
NavnPapers in Innovation Studies


  • Sustainability transistions
  • Eco-innovation
  • Transformative innovation
  • Socio-technical systems
  • Climate
  • Capacity
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Governance