Of agency, action, and influence: The middle-out mechanism for promoting a low-carbon energy transition

Tali Zohar, Yael Parag, Ofira Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The middle-out perspective (MOP) is a relatively new analytical perspective that provides a unique lens to examine the impact of middle actors on action, inaction, change, and stagnation. This research explores the middle-out mechanism and is the first to intersect the various components of the MOP: directions of influence (upwards, downward, and sideways), modes of influence (aggregating, mediating, and enabling), and actors' levels of agency (interest and willingness to act) and capacity (ability to act). The study focuses on one middle actor: Meshek Renewables (MR), an entrepreneurial company in the Israeli energy arena. Through a detailed intersectional analysis, the roles that MR fills in overcoming barriers to transition in two domains are examined: (1) decarbonizing the transport system, and (2) increasing the share of PV in the electricity generation mix. The analysis demonstrates how, by using its assets and resources, MR raised other top, bottom, and middle actors' interest in implementing new energy technologies and improved their abilities to integrate low-carbon energy solutions and promote electric vehicles. Understanding the middle-out mechanism contributes to recognizing the qualities and assets middle-actors need to effectively overcome barriers to action associated with other actors' agency and capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101900
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Community energy
  • Electric vehicles
  • Energy transition
  • Middle actor
  • Middle-out
  • Middle-out mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Of agency, action, and influence: The middle-out mechanism for promoting a low-carbon energy transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this