The technology life cycle: Conceptualization and managerial implications
This paper argues that the technology life cycle literature is confused and incomplete. This literature is first reviewed with consideration of the related concepts of the life cycles for industries and products. By exploring the inter-relationships between these, an integrated view of the technology life cycle is produced. A new conceptualization of the technology life cycle is then proposed. This is represented as a model that incorporates three different levels for technology application, paradigm and generation. The model shows how separate paradigms emerge over time to achieve a given application. It traces the eras of ferment and incremental change and shows how technology generations evolve within these. It also depicts how the eras are separated by the emergence of a dominant design, and how paradigms are replaced at a technological discontinuity. By adopting this structure, the model can demarcate the evolution of technologies at varying levels of granularity from the specific products in which they may be manifest to the industries in which they are exploited.
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