Incumbent Firm Invention in Emerging Fields: Evidence from the Semiconductor Industry

Strategic Management Journal, 32 (1): 55-75, 2010

21 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2010 Last revised: 12 Feb 2017

See all articles by Lin Jiang

Lin Jiang

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Management

Justin Tan

York University - Schulich School of Business

Marie C. Thursby

Georgia Institute of Technology - Strategic Management Area; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 13, 2010

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Emerging Technology, Nanotechnology, Incumbent Firm, Technological Change, Public Science, Inventive Output

Suggested Citation

Jiang, Lin and Tan, Justin and Thursby, Marie C., Incumbent Firm Invention in Emerging Fields: Evidence from the Semiconductor Industry (February 13, 2010). Strategic Management Journal, 32 (1): 55-75, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552643

Lin Jiang

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Management ( email )

514 Cornell Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

Justin Tan (Contact Author)

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.schulich.yorku.ca/SSB-Extra/Faculty.nsf/faculty/Tan%20Justin

Marie C. Thursby

Georgia Institute of Technology - Strategic Management Area ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
203
Abstract Views
709
rank
147,871
PlumX Metrics