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Innovation and the Interrelatedness of Core Competencies: How Taiwan's Giant Bicycles broke into the US Bicycle Market

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  • S. Phineas Upham

    (New York University, USA)

Abstract

I argue that capabilities and barriers to entry are, in certain circumstances, interconnected in such a way that sacrificing one of them can lead to the subsequent vulnerability or erosion of another capability or barrier to entry. I illustrate this through a study of the US bicycle market in the 1980's in general, and Schwinn Corporation and Giant Manufacturing in particular, arguing that both the barriers to entry and the firm capabilities were interrelated. A specific set of decisions by Schwinn had broad and unanticipated effects that went beyond the capacity they explicitly relinquished. In this case manufacturing and distribution were tightly linked in such a way that without some form of tight link between them successful incremental innovation became difficult. Seemingly unrelated capabilities and strengths become mutually reinforcing or interconnected. Instead of being able to choose to add a single capability, or choose to discard one, companies may instead be choosing between sets, groups of interlinked, or patterned capabilities. A seemingly small change may require a major reorganization of other core capabilities that its ostensible status belies.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Phineas Upham, 2006. "Innovation and the Interrelatedness of Core Competencies: How Taiwan's Giant Bicycles broke into the US Bicycle Market," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 4(1), pages 41-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:mgt:youmgt:v:4:y:2006:i:1:p:41-62
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international strategy; outsourcing; capabilities; barriers to entry;

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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