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Technological Revolutions and the Evolution of Industrial Structures: Assessing the Impact of New Technologies upon the Size and Boundaries of Firms


  • Dosi Giovanni

    (LEM, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy)

  • Gambardella Alfonso

    (Bocconi University, Milano, Italy)

  • Grazzi Marco

    (LEM, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy)

  • Orsenigo Luigi

    (University of Brescia, Italy)


In this work we discuss the impact of the new ICT techno-economic paradigm upon the vertical and horizontal boundaries of the firm and ask whether the change in the sources of competitive advantage has resulted in changes in the size of distribution of firms and also in the degree of concentration of industries. Drawing both on firm-level and national statistical data we assess the evolution of the overall balances between the activities which are integrated within organizations and those which occur through market interactions.While the new paradigm entails "revolutionary" changes in the domain of technology, the modification in industrial structures has been somewhat more incremental. Certainly, the vertical and horizontal boundaries of firms have changed and together one is observing a turnover in the club of biggest world firms, accounting also for a shift in the relative importance of industrial sectors. Nonetheless, we do not observe any abrupt fading away of the Chandlerian multidivisional corporation in favour of smaller less-integrated firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Dosi Giovanni & Gambardella Alfonso & Grazzi Marco & Orsenigo Luigi, 2008. "Technological Revolutions and the Evolution of Industrial Structures: Assessing the Impact of New Technologies upon the Size and Boundaries of Firms," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-49, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:capsoc:v:3:y:2008:i:1:n:6

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wenjie Chen & Fariha Kamal, 2016. "The impact of information and communication technology adoption on multinational firm boundary decisions," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 47(5), pages 563-576, June.
    2. Francesco Bogliacino & Mario Pianta, 2016. "The Pavitt Taxonomy, revisited: patterns of innovation in manufacturing and services," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 33(2), pages 153-180, August.
    3. Marco Grazzi & Nadia Jacoby & Tania Treibich, 2016. "Dynamics of investment and firm performance: comparative evidence from manufacturing industries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 125-179, August.
    4. Dosi, Giovanni & Nelson, Richard R., 2010. "Technical Change and Industrial Dynamics as Evolutionary Processes," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    5. Susan Helper & Mari Sako, 2010. "Management innovation in supply chain: appreciating Chandler in the twenty-first century," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 399-429, April.
    6. Bogliacino, Francesco & Pianta, Mario, 2011. "Engines of growth. Innovation and productivity in industry groups," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 41-53, February.
    7. Alena Zemplinerova, 2010. "Competition policy and economic analysis: What can we learn from firm and industry data?," CERGE-EI Books, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague, edition 1, number b07, March.
    8. repec:oup:indcch:v:26:y:2017:i:2:p:187-210. is not listed on IDEAS
    9. William Lazonick, 2010. "The Chandlerian corporation and the theory of innovative enterprise," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 317-349, April.
    10. David C. Mowery, 2010. "Alfred Chandler and knowledge management within the firm," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 483-507, April.
    11. Giovanni Dosi & Marcelo C. Pereira & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2017. "The footprint of evolutionary processes of learning and selection upon the statistical properties of industrial dynamics," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 187-210.
    12. Dosi, Giovanni & Grazzi, Marco & Mathew, Nanditha, 2017. "The cost-quantity relations and the diverse patterns of “learning by doing”: Evidence from India," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1873-1886.
    13. Grazzi, Marco & Sanzo, Roberto & Secchi, Angelo & Zeli, Alessandro, 2013. "The building process of a new integrated system of business micro-data 1989–2004," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, IOS Press, issue 4, pages 291-324.
    14. Archibugi, Daniele, 2017. "Blade Runner economics: Will innovation lead the economic recovery?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 535-543.
    15. Slavo Radosevic & Esin Yoruk, 2016. "A New Metrics Of Technology Upgrading: The Central And East European Countries In A Comparative Perspective," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2016-2, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).

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