The Co-Development of Industrial Sectors and Academic Disciplines

31 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2012

See all articles by Johann Peter Murmann

Johann Peter Murmann

University of St. Gallen; UNSW Australia Business School - AGSM

Date Written: August 29, 2012


The paper presents a model that conceptualizes the development of academic disciplines and related industries as intimately linked. The model predicts that the relative strength of a national industry which has a significant input of science or engineering knowledge is causally related to the strength of the nation’s relevant science or engineering discipline and vice versa. The model also applies to smaller (regional) or larger (supranational) geographic units. On the national level, the model predicts that over longer periods, a nation cannot remain weak in one domain and strong in the other. The two domains will either become both strong or both weak. The model identifies the conditions when government intervention is likely to be effective and when not. A historical case study of synthetic dyes from 1857 to 1914 illustrates how these positive feedback processes led Germany and Switzerland to become strong both in organic chemistry and the dye industry, while Britain and France declined in both domains and the U.S. remained relatively weak in both domains for the entire period. An additional shorter case study of biotechnology supports the prediction of the model.

Keywords: University-Industry Linkages, Historical Case Studies, Synthetic Dyes, Biotechnology

JEL Classification: L23, L65, M10, N80, O30

Suggested Citation

Murmann, Johann Peter, The Co-Development of Industrial Sectors and Academic Disciplines (August 29, 2012). UNSW Australian School of Business Research Paper No. 2012 STRE 02, Available at SSRN: or

Johann Peter Murmann (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Dufourstrasse 40a
Institute of Management and Strategy
St.Gallen, 9000
+41 71 224 23 64 (Phone)


UNSW Australia Business School - AGSM ( email )

UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052
+61-2-9385-9733 (Phone)


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