Technological Accumulation, Diversification and Organisation in UK Companies, 1945--1983
AbstractA survey of more than 4,000 significant innovations and innovating firms in the UK from 1945--1983 shows that the scope and organisation of technological activities vary greatly as functions of firms' principal activities and size. 1. Technological opportunities and threats are greatest in firms in chemicals and engineering. Opportunities in such science-based and specialist supplier firms in general emerge horizontally (in related product markets) and downstream (in user sectors). In scale-intensive (e.g. steel, vehicles) and supplier-dominated (e.g. printing, construction) firms, opportunities tend to be upstream in related production technologies. Breakthrough innovations in science-based firms also induce clusters of technological opportunities upstream for suppliers, horizontally for partners, and downstream for users. Their effective exploitation requires diversity of firms' technological activities greater than that strictly required for current output. 2. The nature of technological opportunities, and of organisation for their exploitation, also varies with firm size. Firms with fewer than 1,000 employees have major opportunities with specialised strategies in mechanical engineering and instruments. The prevalence of broad front technological strategies, and of divisionalisation, increases sharply with firm size, together with dependence on formal R and D activities. The size of innovating divisions has diminished sharply over the period. Divisionalisation improves the "goodness of fit" between the core business of innovating divisions and the innovations themselves, but 40% have remained consistently outside the core business of divisions. 3. These findings help identify the key tasks of technological strategy in firms in different industries, and of different sizes. Thus, in large firms, divisionalisation can create the small size of unit conducive to effective implementation, but it cannot absolve central management from the continuous task of matching technological opportunities with organisational forms and boundaries.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.
Volume (Year): 35 (1989)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
technology; strategy; diversification; accumulation;
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Nemet, Gregory F. & Johnson, Evan, 2012. "Do important inventions benefit from knowledge originating in other technological domains?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 190-200.
- Nemet, Gregory F., 2012. "Inter-technology knowledge spillovers for energy technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1259-1270.
- Archibugi, Daniele & Filippetti, Andrea & Frenz, Marion, 2013.
"Economic crisis and innovation: Is destruction prevailing over accumulation?,"
Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 303-314.
- Daniele Archibugi & Andrea Filippetti & Marion Frenz, 2012. "Economic crisis and innovation: is destruction prevailing over accumulation?," Working Papers 6, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Apr 2012.
- Pla-Barber, José & Alegre, Joaquín, 2007. "Analysing the link between export intensity, innovation and firm size in a science-based industry," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 275-293, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.