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An emerging paradigm or just another trajectory? Understanding the nature of technological changes using engineering heuristics in the telecommunications switching industry

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  • Martinelli, Arianna

Abstract

The theoretical literature on technological changes distinguishes between paradigmatic changes and changes in trajectories. Recently several scholars have performed empirical studies on the way technological trajectories evolve in specific industries, often by predominantly looking at the artifacts. Much less – if any – empirical work has been done on paradigmatic changes, even though these have a much more profound impact on today's industry. It follows from the theory that such studies would need to focus more on the knowledge level than on the artifact level, raising questions on how to operationalize such phenomena. This study aims to fill this gap by applying network-based methodologies to knowledge networks, represented here by patents and patent citations. The rich technological history of telecommunications switches shows how engineers in the post-war period were confronted with huge challenges to meet drastically changing demands. This historical background is a starting point for an in-depth analysis of patents, in search of information about technological direction, technical bottlenecks, and engineering heuristics. We aim to identify when such changes took place over the seven different generations of technological advances this industry has seen. In this way we can easily recognize genuine paradigmatic changes compared to more regular changes in trajectory.

Suggested Citation

  • Martinelli, Arianna, 2012. "An emerging paradigm or just another trajectory? Understanding the nature of technological changes using engineering heuristics in the telecommunications switching industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 414-429.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:2:p:414-429
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2011.10.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Huenteler, Joern & Ossenbrink, Jan & Schmidt, Tobias S. & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2016. "How a product’s design hierarchy shapes the evolution of technological knowledge—Evidence from patent-citation networks in wind power," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1195-1217.
    4. repec:eee:touman:v:45:y:2014:i:c:p:49-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Arianna Martinelli & Önder Nomaler, 2014. "Measuring knowledge persistence: a genetic approach to patent citation networks," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 623-652, July.
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:100:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1276-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. ., 2014. "Restructuring among mobile service providers: a ten-year perspective," Chapters,in: Mobile Telecommunications Networks, chapter 1, pages 1-25 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    9. Huenteler, Joern & Schmidt, Tobias S. & Ossenbrink, Jan & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2016. "Technology life-cycles in the energy sector — Technological characteristics and the role of deployment for innovation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 102-121.
    10. Hélène Dernis & Mariagrazia Squicciarini & Roberto Pinho, 2016. "Detecting the emergence of technologies and the evolution and co-development trajectories in science (DETECTS): a ‘burst’ analysis-based approach," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 930-960, October.
    11. Epicoco, Marianna, 2013. "Knowledge patterns and sources of leadership: Mapping the semiconductor miniaturization trajectory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 180-195.
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    14. Chen, Lixin, 2017. "Do patent citations indicate knowledge linkage? The evidence from text similarities between patents and their citations," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 63-79.
    15. repec:spr:scient:v:105:y:2015:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1749-5 is not listed on IDEAS

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