IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Combinative capabilities and organizational learning in latecomer firms: the case of the Korean semiconductor industry


  • Mathews, John A.
  • Cho, Dong-Sung


The emergence of firms from East Asian countries in advanced high-technology sectors such as semiconductors, is one of the striking features of world business developments over the course of the past decade. Explanations for the successes of such firms are commonly given in terms of transient, external or contingent factors, such as low costs or government subsides or just plain luck. In this paper an alternative account is given, based on resource leverage and organizational learning undertaken by the latecomer firms themselves. The paper develops a model of technological learning by latecomer firms, and then demonstrates its applicability in the case of the creation of a semiconductor industry in Korea. Data is presented to support the proposition that it is indeed single-loop and double-loop organizational learning that underpins these firms' successful entry strategies. This approach sheds light on the strategies to be followed by firms in advanced countries when they seek to enter knowledge-intensive, high-technology sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathews, John A. & Cho, Dong-Sung, 1999. "Combinative capabilities and organizational learning in latecomer firms: the case of the Korean semiconductor industry," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 139-156, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:34:y:1999:i:2:p:139-156

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miller, Alex & Gartner, William B. & Wilson, Robert, 1989. "Entry order, market share, and competitive advantage: A study of their relationships in new corporate ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 197-209, May.
    2. John Mathews, 1996. "High Technology Industrialisation In East Asia," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 1-77.
    3. Roger E. Bohn, 1995. "Noise and Learning in Semiconductor Manufacturing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(1), pages 31-42, January.
    4. Mody, Ashoka, 1990. "Institutions and Dynamic Comparative Advantage: The Electronics Industry in South Korea and Taiwan," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 291-314, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:scient:v:95:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-013-0962-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Griffith, David A. & Harmancioglu, Nukhet & Droge, Cornelia, 2009. "Governance decisions for the offshore outsourcing of new product development in technology intensive markets," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 217-224, July.
    3. Jing Yang & Frank Tipton & Jiatao Li, 2011. "A review of foreign business management in China," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 627-659, September.
    4. Wang, Yuandi & Zhou, Zhao, 2013. "The dual role of local sites in assisting firms with developing technological capabilities: Evidence from China," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 63-76.
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:98:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1016-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Zhang, Marina Y. & Dodgson, Mark, 2007. ""A roasted duck can still fly away": A case study of technology, nationality, culture and the rapid and early internationalization of the firm," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 336-349, September.
    7. Christopher Williams & Ana Colovic & Jiqing Zhu, 2016. "Foreign Market Knowledge, Country Sales Breadth And Innovative Performance Of Emerging Economy Firms," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(06), pages 1-25, August.
    8. POPESCU Alina Irina, 2013. "Product Innovation Strategies on Emerging Markets: Bringing Theory and Practice Together," European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Bucharest Economic Academy, issue 02, June.
    9. Triulzi, G., 2014. "Technology life cycle and specialization patterns of latecomer countries: The case of the semiconductor industry," MERIT Working Papers 012, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    10. repec:kap:jincot:v:17:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10842-016-0237-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Eric H. Y. Koh & Mohan V. Avvari & Kim Hua Tan, 2016. "An integrated framework for competency development: perspectives of risk managers in banks," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 10(3), pages 581-602, September.
    12. Shin, Hojung & Lee, Jae-Nam & Kim, DaeSoo & Rhim, Hosun, 2015. "Strategic agility of Korean small and medium enterprises and its influence on operational and firm performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 181-196.
    13. Funk, Jeffrey L. & Magee, Christopher L., 2015. "Rapid improvements with no commercial production: How do the improvements occur?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 777-788.
    14. Dixit, M. R. & Sharma, Sunil & Karna, Amit, 2007. "Role of ‘corporate persistence’ and ‘environmental support’ in building breakthrough capability: Empirical investigation of Samsung’s initiatives in memory and microwave oven business," IIMA Working Papers WP2007-10-04, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    15. Rugman, Alan M. & Oh, Chang Hoon, 2008. "Korea's multinationals in a regional world," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 5-15, January.
    16. Lu, Jane W., 2003. "The evolving contributions in international strategic management research," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 193-213.
    17. repec:spr:scient:v:58:y:2003:i:1:d:10.1023_a:1025431608461 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Maria Isabella Leone & Keld Laursen, 2011. "Patent Exploitation Strategies and Value Creation," Chapters,in: The Economic Valuation of Patents, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Chia-Wen Lee & Roger Hayter & David W. Edgington, 2010. "Large And Latecomer Firms: The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company And Taiwan'S Electronics Industry," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 101(2), pages 177-198, April.
    20. Leo van Grunsven, 2006. "New Industries in Southeast Asia’s Late Industrialization: Evolution versus Creation - The Automation Industry in Penang (Malaysia) considered," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0611, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Dec 2006.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:34:y:1999:i:2:p:139-156. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.