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The organizational evolution of innovative activity in the US semiconductor industry: Technological specialization and diversification


  • Norio Tokumaru


This article analyzes the organizational evolution of innovative activity in the contemporary high-tech industry. It has been argued that by showing illuminating examples and proposing theoretical explanations, the innovation process has been fragmented and distributed among several organizations. In other words, 'division of innovative labor' emerges. However, one of the problems of this argument lies in its lack of systematic empirical analysis. Using the United States Patent and Trademark Office patent database, this article analyzes the organization of innovative activity in the US semiconductor industry. It is shown that 'technological specialization' has not occurred in this industry as a whole. In addition, it is also shown that there are two distinct modes of development of technology, namely, 'specialized development of technology' and 'diversified development of technology', in which the share of the latter has been steadily increasing. These results imply that contrary to the earlier conventional arguments, division of labor is not a common phenomenon in the production of technological knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Norio Tokumaru, 2006. "The organizational evolution of innovative activity in the US semiconductor industry: Technological specialization and diversification," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(6), pages 591-603.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:15:y:2006:i:6:p:591-603
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590500222709

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gambardella, Alfonso & Torrisi, Salvatore, 1998. "Does technological convergence imply convergence in markets? Evidence from the electronics industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 445-463, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilberto SERAVALLI, 2011. "Conflict, Contract, Leadership and Innovation: An Interdisciplinary View," Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology,, vol. 1(6), pages 1-48, October.


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