Wissen und Arbeit für die Energiewende

Wir betrachten die aktuellen klimapolitischen Maßnahmen zur Umsetzung der Energiewende nicht nur ials Herausforderung für die Braunkohleregion Lausitz, sondern auch im Hinblick auf die technisch-organisatorischen Anforderungen an die Unternehmen der Energiewirtschaft. Der Erfolg der Energiewende hängt nicht nur von ihren technologischen und finanziellen Grundlagen ab, sondern erfordert fundamentale Veränderungen der Arbeitsorganisation und der Arbeitsinhalte in den Energieversorgungsunternehmen. Bisher ist wenig darüber bekannt, wie diese traditionell von Stabilität und Sicherheit geprägte Branche diesen Wandel meistert. Ausgangsannahme ist, dass die bisher von Traditionen des primären und sekundären Sektors geprägten Unternehmen jetzt in einen massiven Tertiarisierungsprozess eintreten mit unmittelbaren und mittelbaren Folgen für organisatorische, personelle und tätigkeitsbezogene Restrukturierungsmaßnahmen. Wir untersuchen die Restrukturierung der Arbeitsorganisation und -inhalte in den Großunternehmen der Energieversorgung und den Stadtwerken.


The German policy of the energy transition, the liberalization of the energy market and the governmental goals for climate protection challenge the companies of the energy sector. In addition to the technological reorientation towards renewable energy sources they have to cope with growing complexity of the market through separation of networks and distribu- tion, and they also face increasing competition as new actors emerge due to the process of digitalization and decentralization. For the economic and organizational sociological research, as well as for the sociology of work and political science research of innovation, the analysis of these processes of trans- formation of the energy sector opens up chances to enhance both research concepts and methods. It is to be expected that in the transformation of this sector certain developments which are characteristic in general for the current change of institutions and companies as well as work and employment will emerge more clearly. The chair for Economic and Industrial Sociology of the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg puts the following questions into the focus of its work:

Radical institutional change and resistance: For a long time, the energy sector was a prominent example for resistance to institutional change. It seems that the success of technologi- cal niches, the influence of external shocks as well as the enforcement of the market con- vention broke this resistance. More and more radical institutional and technological changes become obvious. The new institutional framework is still in emergence. It is implemented by the established companies of the energy sector with reluctance. Instead of implementing changes in “ceremonial conformity” they engage in ‘institutional work’ to influence these changes or at least interpret them to their purpose. Which strategies use these companies in this situation? Which problems do they face? And, which solutions do they find?

Internal reorganization of work and changing employment relationships: Changes in the institutional framework as well as in the economical conditions unsettle strategies in per- sonnel politics and implicate on employment conditions, which for a long time had been marked by stability and reliability of planning. The energy companies implement these insti- tutional changes as well as the growing pressure due to new competitive conditions by reorganizing and partly intensifying work and by trying to make it more flexible, numerical and functional. More market control and increasing relevance of the production of services af- fect traditional orientations towards technical and industrial goals. Reorganization processes are renegotiated within the company – partly in conflictual processes. The industry-specific labor market structures are getting more complex and more open due to the establishment of new businesses and professions ("green jobs") in the areas of renewable energies and energy services. This also puts the industrial relations under pressure: For classical energy companies the leeway for socially acceptable settlements is shrinking; “new” energy compa- nies usually move outside of the system of collective representation of interests. Who are the winners of these changes? Which new qualifications are needed? Which impact has the tertiarization on internal labor markets as well as on professional development potentiali- ties?

Regional policy as driver of eco-innovation: In the last years energy policy has become linked in with new cross-sectional policies in the field of environment, climate and innova- tion policies. An important issue is the promotion of eco innovations, i.e. innovations with the least possible risk to environment as well as sustainable / efficient use of resources. This occurs primarily at the level of subnational politics, mostly in the form of support of clean technologies in the renewable energy sector, support of start-ups in the field of renewable technologies or services and networking between companies along the value chain. The study is focusing on the varieties of commitment of subnational units and on the respective differences in the framing of energy policy as a regional, innovation, or climate policy. There can be also observed differences in the constellations of actors involved that influence varie- ties of commitment to eco-innovation (Energy companies, local politics, citizens' groups, trade unions, associations). Through international comparisons (Mexico and Brazil) it is con- sidered to which extent the euro-centric concept of eco-innovation can be applied to emerg- ing economies of the global south, which barriers are found there. We are also interested in theory transfer vice versa and analyze how far (political and economic) approaches to eco- innovation found in the Global South can be transmitted to the European context.


Graf, Patricia, und Heike Jacobsen. 2020. „Institutional Work in the Transformation of the German Energy Sector“. Utilities Policy. doi: 10.1016/j.jup.2020.101107.

Graf, Patricia 2015: Eco-innovation – a new paradigm for Latin America? In: Revista Gestão e Desenvolvimento, 12:1, pp. 117-126.

Graf, Patricia/ Braun, Andreas 2014: A policy perspective on Open Innovation –the Mexican case. In: International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management. 4: 2, pp 160-179.

Jacobsen, Heike (2015): Motivationen der NutzerInnen und Hemmnisse für die Ausweitung des Marktes für Energieeffizienzdienstleistungen – die Rolle der Kommunen. In: Ja- cobsen, Heike/ Oertel, Britta (Hrsg.) (2015): Dienstleistungen für die energieeffiziente Stadt. Band 7 der Schriftenreihe des Wettbewerbs Energieeffiziente Stadt, Münster: LIT, S. 23-30

Jacobsen, Heike/ Oertel, Britta (Hrsg.) (2015): Dienstleistungen für die energieeffiziente Stadt. Band 7 der Schriftenreihe des Wettbewerbs Energieeffiziente Stadt, Münster: LIT

Jacobsen, Heike; Blazejewski, Franziska; Graf, Patricia (2017): Der verdeckte Transformationsprozess der Energieversorger – Kollisionen von Rechtfertigungsordnungen. In: Sebastian Giacovelli (Hrsg.): Die Energiewende aus wirtschaftssoziologischer Sicht - Theoretische Konzepte und empirische Zugänge. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 93-117.

Jacobsen, Heike, Blazejewski, Franziska, Graf, Patricia (2015): Das Fundament unseres Hauses wird uns unter den Füßen weggezogen - Energieversorger im Reorganisationsprozess. In: Lessenich, Stephan (Hg.): Routinen der Krise - Krise der Routinen. Verhandlungen des 37. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Trier 2014. http://publikationen.soziologie.de/index.php/kongressband/issue/view/8/showToc

Presentations and conference papers

Blazejewski, Franziska/ Graf, Patricia/ Jacobsen, Heike, 2014: "Age and Knowledge As Challenging Factors for the Energy Transition in Germany", ISA World Congress of Sociol- ogy, Yokohama, Japan, 13- 19.7.2014.

Graf, Patricia 2015: "Institutional work in the transformation of the German Energy Sector". Presentation and Paper, 13.11.2015, Annual Conference, Northeastern Political Science Association in Philadelphia/USA.

Graf, Patricia 2014: The more decentralized the cleaner? Policies for eco-innovation and re- gional authority in middle income countries. Presentation and paper, 28.08.2014, General Conference of the American Political Science Association, Washington D.C.

Graf, Patricia 2014: "Eco-Innovation – a New Paradigm for Latin America?" Vortrag gehalten auf dem ISA World Congress of Sociology vom (13-19.7.2014) in Yokohama.

Graf, Patricia (2014): Subnational politics for the energy transition - the role of power and space, Presentation, 20.03.2014, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Notre Dame University, South Bend.

Jacobsen, Heike, 2015: Conficts over Values and Orders of Worth in the German Energy Transition: Tertiary Orientations of Work and Employment within the Primary Sector. SASE Annual Conference, London School of Economics and Political Science, 02.07.2015.

Jacobsen, Heike/ Blazejewski, Franziska, 2015: „The Adoption of Tertiary Orientations of Work and Em-ployment in the Energy Sector as a Conflitual Process”. Workshop „So- ciology of Conventions”, WU Wien, 30.06.2015.

Jacobsen, Heike, 2014: "'Das Fundament unseres Hauses wird uns unter den Füßen weggezogen'– Energieversorger auf der Suche nach neuen Sicherheiten", 37. Congress of the German Society for Sociology, Trier, 6.-10.10.2014.

Jacobsen, Heike, 2012: "Service Rationality: Contributions of the Sociology of Conventions to Service Science - The Case of Energy Efficiency Services", RESER Annual Conference 2012, Bukarest, Rumänien, 20. – 22. 9. 2012.

Jacobsen, Heike, Vortrag auf der Sommerakademie der hypatia – Frauennetzwerk Erneuerbare Energien und Cleantech e. V. 18. 6. 2016 in Berlin zum Thema „Die Energiewende – neue Chancen für Frauen in einer traditionellen Männerbranche?“

Blazejewski/ Jacobsen, Vortrag “Complex, ambiguous and conflictuous: attempts to revolutionise the organisation of work in German energy suppliers“ und  Teilnahme an Paneldiskussion “What labour process changes are needed to slow global warning?” auf der ILPC-Konferenz, 04.-06.04.2016 in Berlin

Jacobsen, 2016, Vortrag am Institute for Research on Labor and Employment an der University of California in Berkeley, San Francisco, Kalifornien, zum Thema “Social Science Re­search Perspectives on Implications of Climate Policies for Labour and Employ­ment” am 24.02.2016 (Im Rahmen des Forschungsaufenthalts von Prof. Jacobsen an der University of California)

Organisation of workshops and conferences

Jacobsen, Heike/ Alexandra Wagner, 2022, Praxisworkshop zur Reorganisation der Arbeit in der Netzleitwarte eines Energieversorgers

Jacobsen, Heike, 2015: Regional Energy Consultancy in Essen. Practice Workshop with key regional actors in the energy consultancy of Essen in the realm of the BMBF-funded project „Climate Initiative Essen“, Essen, STEAG, 18.11.2015

Jacobsen, Heike/ Graf, Patricia/ Blazejewski, Franziska, 2015: The Future of Work in the Energy Sector. Practice Workshop, Stadtwerken Tübingen, 29.10.2015.

Jacobsen, Heike/ Graf, Patricia/ Blazejewski, Franziska, 2015: Social Science Research on the Transformation of the Energy Sector in the realm of the BTU funded application for a DFG-project, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, 5./6. November 2015


Donald Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy, University of California, Berke- ley, Prof. Carol Zabin, Prof. Betony Jones, Forschungskooperation zur Untersuchung von Beschäftigungswirkungen der Klimaschutzpolitik in Deutschland und Kalifornien, Visiting Fellowship Prof. Dr. Heike Jacobsen, Wintersemester 2015/16

Notre Dame University, Chicago, Illinois, USA: Dr. Debra Javeline, Dr. Patrick Regan; Forschung zur Analyse der „Energiewende“ und Vergleich mit US-amerikanischer Politik, Visiting Scholarship Dr. Patricia Graf, Wintersemester 2013/14