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The ICT Component of Technological Diversification: Is there an underestimation of ICT capabilities among the world's largest companies?

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  • Sandro Mendonça

    () (ISCTE)

Abstract

This empirical paper analyses the importance of information and communications technologies (ICT) in the technological diversification trend among the world's large industrial firms. The objective of the research is twofold. First, to emphasise the emerging differences among technologies when companies from different industries patent outside their traditional technological competencies. Second, to investigate whether the tendency among large companies from all industries to patent in ICT is distinctive when compared with other technologies. We find that technological diversification in large companies has certainly occurred in ICTs. For other technologies the results are ambiguous. As could be expected there is considerable industry variation in the intensity and specific directions of ICT patenting. We conclude that the development of corporate capabilities in the key technologies of the emerging ICT paradigm is more widespread than previously emphasised in the literature. One implication is that the rise of multi-technology corporations can be related to the concept of long waves of techno-economic change and to studies characterising ICT as a general-purpose technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandro Mendonça, 2002. "The ICT Component of Technological Diversification: Is there an underestimation of ICT capabilities among the world's largest companies?," SPRU Working Paper Series 82, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:82
    as

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    File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/spru/publications/imprint/sewps/sewp82/sewp82.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Freeman, Chris & Louca, Francisco, 2002. "As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251056.
    2. Paul A. David & Gavin Wright, "undated". "General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution," Working Papers 99026, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    3. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Paul David & Gavin Wright, 1999. "General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution," Economics Series Working Papers 1999-W31, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Paul A. David & Gavin Wright, "undated". "General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution," Working Papers 99026, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    6. Paola Giuri & John Hagedoorn & Myriam Mariani, 2002. "Technological Diversification and Strategic Alliances," LEM Papers Series 2002/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    7. Harberger, Arnold C, 1998. "A Vision of the Growth Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1-32.
    8. Arora, Ashish & Fosfuri, Andrea & Gambardella, Alfonso, 2001. "Markets for Technology and Their Implications for Corporate Strategy," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 419-451, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ICT; technological diversification; patents; corporate capabilities; long waves;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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