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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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of World Business.

Volume (Year): 34 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 139-156

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Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:34:y:1999:i:2:p:139-156
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. John Mathews, 1996. "High Technology Industrialisation In East Asia," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 1-77.
  4. Roger E. Bohn, 1995. "Noise and Learning in Semiconductor Manufacturing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(1), pages 31-42, January.
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