The role of overpromising in system change

M. Dignum

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


Visions and expectations have performative function and influence the process of system change. When visions and expectations are accepted, action needs to be taken in order to realise them. In some periods of time the process of raising, accepting and acting upon expectations leads to commitment to overly optimistic expectations. When these expectations cannot be met, it will lead to disillusionment. This research exposes the underlying social dynamics of these periods of overpromising by analysing two periods of commitment to visions of a hydrogen economy. It identifies both similarities and differences of the hydrogen enthusiasm of the 1970s and the period around the year 2000. In both periods the visions and expectations carefully matched the Zeitgeist and connected to expectations of enabling technology. The social dynamics within the period differed: in the first period enthusiasm remained mainly rhetorical whereas in the latter period investments were made in response to the expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEindhoven
PublisherTechnische Universiteit Eindhoven
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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