IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecl/stabus/1994.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Organizational Evolution with Fuzzy Technological Boundaries: Tape Drive Producers in the World Market, 1951-1998

Author

Listed:
  • Carroll, Glen R.

    (Stanford U)

  • Feng, Mi
  • Le Mens, Gael
  • McKendrick, David

    (Durham U)

Abstract

We study how tape drive producers respond to the almost continuous emergence of new drive formats across the technology's history. The analysis characterizes the technological formats of tape drives according to their degree of contrast (distinctiveness and visibility) from other formats. High contrast implies strong boundaries, which prevent information leakage and appear to provide solid strategic footing because they are not easy to adopt and replicate; yet formats with strong boundaries may appear risky to potential customers who may prefer formats more readily substitutable. We develop and test arguments about how different types of tape drive manufacturers add and drop the production of formats as a function of the contrast of formats. A key distinction we make is between single-format producers whose format has high contrast (yielding a clear firm level identity) and multi-format producers whose various formats blur the firm's identity when they are high in contrast. In the empirical analysis, we find that single-format firms producing formats with high contrast experience a lower rate of mortality, while average high contrast in the technology portfolio of multi-format producers lowers their survival chances. We also find that single-format firms with technology formats characterized by high levels of contrast are: (1) more likely to add newly emerging formats and (2) less likely to drop existing formats. By contrast, multi-format manufacturers show mixed patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Carroll, Glen R. & Feng, Mi & Le Mens, Gael & McKendrick, David, 2008. "Organizational Evolution with Fuzzy Technological Boundaries: Tape Drive Producers in the World Market, 1951-1998," Research Papers 1994, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1994
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP1994.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:ecl:stabus:1994. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/gsstaus.html .

    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.