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La technologie comme actif, de la firme portefeuille à la firme organisation


  • Thierry Kirat
  • Christian Le Bas


[fre] Cet article fournit une revue critique de la littérature concernant la conception de la technologie sous-jacente aux différentes analyses économiques de la firme. Il est principalement centré sur le thème de la technologie comme actif. Deux approches théoriques sont décrites : celle qui considère la technologie comme un quasi- actif financier, et celle qui déploie une problématique dans laquelle la firme est conçue comme une organisation dont la structure, les frontières, et la croissance sont en partie déterminées par la technologie. Trois approches de la technologie comme quasi-actif financier sont discutées : la théorie du portefeuille, la théorie de la valeur d'option, l'analyse en termes de spéculation autour du brevet. La référence commune de ses approches est une conception de la technologie saisie comme information, alors que les approches alternatives sont plus sensibles à une conception de la technologie comme savoir tacite et spécifique. Dans ces dernières, les questions de la spécificité des actifs, des compétences et des activités de l'organisation, que les conceptions de la firme sont analysées eu égard leur capacité à fournir un cadrage pertinent des phénomènes d'irréversibilité propres à la dynamique sationnelle. In fine, plusieurs entre ces approches et la théorie la croissance endogène sont suggérées. [eng] The aim of this article is to provide a critical survey of literature dealing with the conception of technology in relation to different perspectives about the analytical construction of the firm. The article focuses on technology considered as an asset. Two main theoretical and analytical orientations are discussed. On the one hand, some approaches consider technology as a quasi-financial asset and, on the other hand, others provide an explanatory framework of the firm considered as an organisation which structures, borders, and dynamics are based on the structuring effects of technology. Three approaches of technology as a quasi-financial asset are reviewed and discussed: the theory of portofolio selection, the theory of option value, and the analysis in terms of patent-based game and speculative behaviour. The common scheme of these approaches is that they are grounded on a more or less explicit conception of technology as infor- mation, whereas alternative theoretical views are more sensitive to an approach of technology as specific, even tacit, knowledge. Within this latter general framework, such issues as asset specifity, capabilities and activities of discussed, and current contractualist conceptions of the firm are debated as regards their capacity to provide a relevant explanatory framework of phenomena as path-dependancy and irreversibility aspects of organisational dynamics. Lastly, several possible connections of the reviewed approaches to models of endegenous growth are suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Kirat & Christian Le Bas, 1993. "La technologie comme actif, de la firme portefeuille à la firme organisation," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 8(1), pages 135-172.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:rfreco:rfeco_0769-0479_1993_num_8_1_925
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rfeco.1993.925

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