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The uneven development and distribution of vaccines across cultures: the case of AIDS

Cacciatori, E   Hanlin, R   Breschi, S   Brusoni, S   Orsenigo, L

April 2012

Innogen working paper no. 104

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Introduction

This project has investigated how culture acts as a resource through which different groups address problems (c.f. Pickering, 1992), in this case the search for an AIDS vaccine. In this context, ‘culture’ refers to the way people communicate and develop knowledge, beliefs and attitudes which shape the way organizational mechanisms develop and organizational behaviour is conducted. The starting point for our research was the assumption that dominant cultures contribute to shape choices, such as what alternative to explore and how to do it, that are critical in determining the features of innovation. We chose the example of the AIDS vaccine research because it provides an exemplary case of the difficulties of ensuring even distribution of innovation. In particular we have focused out attention on the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) the first product development partnership to focus on AIDS vaccine research. We have carried out the investigation of the role of culture at the field level and the level of our case study organization, IAVI.

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