Incumbent Firm Invention in Emerging Fields: Evidence from the Semiconductor Industry
University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Management
York University - Schulich School of Business
Marie C. Thursby
Georgia Institute of Technology - Strategic Management Area; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
February 13, 2010
Strategic Management Journal, 32 (1): 55-75
Incumbent firms are often thought to focus on incremental innovations and only respond to a major technological change once its impact on established markets and/or dominant designs becomes clear. We argue, however, that incumbent firms have many reasons to proactively invent early in cycles of technological change. Our interest is in the strategies that allow incumbents to be successful in this endeavor during the infancy of an emerging field – the period before it is clear how the field will affect dominant designs. Our evidence counters the stereotypical view that incumbent firms play a passive role in major technological changes by adhering to incremental inventions in the existing dominant designs. Rather, we find significant inventions by incumbents outside the existing dominant designs and relate their success to their willingness to search novel areas, explore scientific knowledge in the public domain, and form alliances with a balanced portfolio of partners. We find support for our hypotheses using data from the global semiconductor industry between 1989 and 2002.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Emerging Technology, Nanotechnology, Incumbent Firm, Technological Change, Public Science, Inventive OutputAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 14, 2010 ; Last revised: August 3, 2012
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.484 seconds