Innovation and Recurring Shifts in Industrial Leadership: Three Phases of Change and Persistence in the Camera Industry

41 Pages Posted: 25 May 2018 Last revised: 25 Apr 2020

See all articles by Hyo Kang

Hyo Kang

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

Jaeyong Song

Seoul National University

Date Written: March 1, 2017

Abstract

This study examines factors underlying three phases of change or persistence in industrial leadership in the sector of interchangeable-lens cameras over the past century. During this period there were two major phases of leadership change, both associated with the emergence of innovations involving major discontinuities in the industry’s core technologies. First, Japan won market leadership from Germany in the mid-1960s after commercializing the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera that replaced the previously dominant German rangefinder camera. Second, in the late-2000s, Japanese latecomer firms and a Korean firm developed Mirrorless cameras, which allowed them to capture the majority of market share from the incumbent Japanese leaders. We also examine the long period (about 60 years) between these two phases of change, during which leading Japanese firms were able to sustain their market leadership despite the digital revolution from the 1980s to 1990s. This paper explores the factors influencing these contrasting experiences of change and persistence in industry leadership. The analysis integrates several aspects of sectoral innovation systems – i.e., windows of opportunity associated with technology, demand, and institution – as well as the strategies of incumbents and latecomer firms. The conclusions highlight the complex and diverse combinations and importance of the factors that help explain the patterns of shifts in leadership.

Keywords: Catch-Up Cycle, Industrial Leadership, Innovation, Interchangeable-Lens Camera

JEL Classification: N70, L63, O33

Suggested Citation

Kang, Hyo and Song, Jaeyong, Innovation and Recurring Shifts in Industrial Leadership: Three Phases of Change and Persistence in the Camera Industry (March 1, 2017). Research Policy. Volume 46, Issue 2, March 2017, Pages 376-387; DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2016.09.004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3172481

Hyo Kang (Contact Author)

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

HOME PAGE: http://hyokang.com

Jaeyong Song

Seoul National University ( email )

Kwanak-gu
Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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