Technology and economic development : a case study of technological capability building in selected food manufacturing sectors in Thailand
The study analyses the role of various internal and external factors (of firms) in technological capability building (TCB) in the food industry of Thailand, by viewing two main aspects of TCB: first, four main elements of technological capabilities (i. e. acquisitive, operative, adaptive and innovative); and secondly, the capability of developing new products. A review of the relevant literature demonstrates that various internal and external factors can influence the success or failure of technological capability building of the firm. The internal factors include size of firm, role of the entrepreneur, firm's policy and strategy, management and administration, accumulation of firm's own experience, manpower flow and internal links, firm's own effort in R&D, and human resource development. The external factors include competitive environment, role of government and related institutions, customers, competitors, foreign direct investment, and cooperation with external agencies. Dat a collected from a sample of 62 firms have been closely studied. To start with regression analyses have been undertaken. At a second stage, a perception analysis was used to identify the relative importance of the various factors, as perceived by the firms, influencing the enhancement of the four elements of technological capability. However, for viewing firm-level capability building for developing new products, we have also used a qualitative analysis in the form of a 'pair comparison' review. Although for operative and adaptive capabilities the regression analyses carried out do not show that any of the factors identified have statistically significant relationship, for acquisitive and innovative capability building statistically significant relationships are observed against ownership and promotion status (and in the case of innovative capability, firm size and market orientation as well). However, on the basis of the perception analysis carried out some overseas customers andoverseas market competitors emerge as dominant ones. In the case of firm-level capability building for developing new products, the regression analysis reveals that only firm-size has statistically significant relationship, while the 'pair comparison' analysis shows that various factors including top management values, policy and strategy, management and administration, R&D efforts, internal linkage and information system, the sufficient fund for undertaking R&D and human resource training, and the motivation and the reward system are dominant ones.