Innovation as Response to Emissions Legislation: Revisiting the Automatic Catalytic Converter at Johnson Matthey

27 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2011

See all articles by Lan Tao

Lan Tao

University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management

Elizabeth W. Garnsey

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

David Probert

University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management

Tom Ridgman

University of Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing

Date Written: February 1, 2009

Abstract

Can environmental legislation spur innovative response? This case describes the development of the automotive catalytic converter (ACC) at Johnson Matthey (JM), a precious metals company that entered the automotive industry as a component provider. The market was unfamiliar to JM and highly competitive, but in the 1970s the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced standards for emissions control by automotive companies well ahead of current practice. Johnson Matthew responded to the prospect of market demand for a technology that could meet the regulations. The EPA policy of technology “forcing” stimulated collaboration for innovation among companies from a variety of industries. Our case evidence shows that the key innovator, JM, achieved its breakthrough as a result of proactive R&D management by the product champion together with sustained corporate support at a high level and partnership strategies.

Keywords: Automotive catalytic converter, breakthrough innovation, Johnson Matthey

JEL Classification: L52, O3

Suggested Citation

Tao, Lan and Garnsey, Elizabeth W. and Probert, David and Ridgman, Tom, Innovation as Response to Emissions Legislation: Revisiting the Automatic Catalytic Converter at Johnson Matthey (February 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1923084 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1923084

Lan Tao

University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management ( email )

Engineering Department
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/lt288/

Elizabeth W. Garnsey (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1223 338183 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jims.cam.ac.uk/people/faculty/garnseye.html

David Probert

University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management ( email )

Engineering Department
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1PZ
United Kingdom

Tom Ridgman

University of Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing ( email )

17 Charles Babbage Road
Cambridge, CB3 0FS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/twr20/

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