Knowledge patterns and sources of leadership: Mapping the semiconductor miniaturization trajectory
This article examines the technological capabilities that national organizations generated and accumulated throughout the long-term evolution of the miniaturization trajectory, the main direction of technological change in the semiconductor industry. Having built an original dataset of patents granted between 1976 and 2008, and using three algorithms for the analysis of citation networks, we first map the pattern of technological knowledge underlying the advancement of the miniaturization trajectory. We identify three different dimensions of that pattern and characterize them in terms of distinctive knowledge properties. Second, we analyse the geographical and organizational distribution of the knowledge pattern. The results provide evidence of significant differences in the technological capabilities of national organizations, as revealed by the magnitude and properties of the technological knowledge that those organizations generated over time. We find, inter alia, that while US organizations remained strong throughout the whole time period, the capabilities of European organizations were considerably eroded in the most recent years by the emergence of latecomer Asian countries like South Korea and Taiwan.
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