Corporate Technological Competence and the Evolution of Technological Diversification

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Corporate Technological Competence and the Evolution of Technological Diversification

9781840643534 Edward Elgar Publishing
Felicia M. Fai, Lecturer in International Business, School of Management, University of Bath, UK
Publication Date: 2003 ISBN: 978 1 84064 353 4 Extent: 208 pp
Drawing upon evolutionary economics and resource-based approaches, the author utilises US patent data from 1930–1990 to examine the persistence of corporate technological competencies and their gradual erosion through diversifying incremental change. The book explores the changing nature of this diversification with respect to firm size, technological relatedness and technological complexity in 32 firms distributed across four broadly defined industrial sectors.

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Contents
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Drawing upon evolutionary economics and resource-based approaches, the author utilises US patent data from 1930–1990 to examine the persistence of corporate technological competencies and their gradual erosion through diversifying incremental change. The book explores the changing nature of this diversification with respect to firm size, technological relatedness and technological complexity in 32 firms distributed across four broadly defined industrial sectors.

The findings suggest that industry and corporate technological profiles remain strong but are becoming blurred by the pervasiveness of general-purpose technologies. Although historically, diversification is associated with an increase in firm size, the author argues that in recent times it results from technological relatedness and complexity.

This book will appeal to industrial and business economists, historians of business and technology, and students and scholars of technology management.
Critical Acclaim
‘This book is an important contribution to the field. It provides us with a clear definition of diversification, presenting all the dimensions that can justify the evolution of firms’ technological positioning, an interesting theoretical proposition and a deep empirical analysis to support the argumentation. . . without any doubt this book is worth reading to have a clear presentation of a fascinating area of research.’
– Ludovic Dibiaggio, Technovation

‘Scholars working in the realm of technical change and firm technological strategies should read this book. Here they will find an authoritative work (over the period it covers) and will note the care it takes in unravelling industry and firm history.’
– Lionel Nesta, Journal of Evolutionary Economics

‘One of the longest-running debates in studies of economic and industrial organization concerns the advantages of specialization versus the advantages of diversification. Confusion over the nature of “diversification” has clouded this debate. By a long-term analysis of technological behaviour in large firms, Felicia Fai is able to bring fresh theoretical and empirical insights to this key question. Her work displays the virtues of looking beyond latest fads to the deeper structural characteristics and determinants of firm behaviour.’
– Nick von Tunzelmann, SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex, UK
Contents
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. The Data 3. Industry-specific Competencies and Industrial Convergence 4. Technological Persistence in the Evolution of Corporate Technological Competence 5. Technological Diversification 6. Scale and Scope in Technology: Influences on Diversification 7. Technological Inter-relatedness and Complex Diversification 8. Conclusions Appendices Bibliography Index
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