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A dynamic model of process and product innovation

  • Utterback, James M
  • Abernathy, William J
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    This article reports results from empirical tests of relationships between the pattern of innovation within a firm and certain of the firm's characteristics: the stage of development of its production process and its chosen basis of competition. The hypothesized relationships posed for the present investigation are a synthesis of prior research by the present authors on two distinct but complementary conceptual models of innovation, concerning respectively: the relationship between competitive strategy and innovation, and the relationship between production process characteristics and innovation. The empirical investigation is carried out with data available from the Myers and Marquis study of successful technological innovation in five different industry segments. The essential aspects of the hypothesized relationships are that the characteristics of the innovative process will systematically correspond with the stage of development exhibited by the firm's production process technology and with its strategy for competition and growth. As a more specific example these relationships predict that there will be coherent patterns in the stimuli for innovation (market, production or new technology); in the types of innovation (product or process, original or adopted, etc.) and in barriers to innovation. The presently reported statistical evidence is decidedly favorable to the hypothesized relationships, even though the adaptations needed to implement tests with existing data introduce dependencies that limit conclusions which would otherwise be warranted. The broad implication is that strong and important relationships exist among the capability of a firm to innovate, its competitive strategy and the posture of its production resources.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Omega.

    Volume (Year): 3 (1975)
    Issue (Month): 6 (December)
    Pages: 639-656

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:3:y:1975:i:6:p:639-656
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