This research investigates why late-industrialised economies with sufficient technology capability face challenges in transitioning into industrial leaders in frontier technology sectors by examining the role of innovation actors in creating new institutions. Specifically, we investigate how industrial actors' works to change the institution affect the performance of innovations. Data collected from the cases of Online Electric Vehicle, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage System in Korea are analysed through the partial least squares structural equation modelling technique. The results suggest that while the institutional agency is constrained by control-based institutional works, it holds a significant negative effect on innovation performance. This provides an alternative perspective to literature that has emphasised the need for institutional experimentations to take place for innovations to succeed. The paper contributes to transition and institution studies by discussing possible repercussions of actors' works to change the institution during the development and deployment of frontier technologies.