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Title: The process of technological change at firm level : some case studies of post-innovation performance.
Author: Ray, Timothy Eric
Awarding Body: Manchester Polytechnic
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1985
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This thesis is developed from the proposition that most innovations offer scope for further development. The research is aimed at identifying factors that guide the innovating firm in sustaining a path of competitive technological advance in the face of a changing operating environment. Empirical evidence relating to these factors is provided in fourteen case-studies of post-innovation performance. The point of departure for producing the present case-studies was a study of the causes of innovations that enabled firms to gain the Queen's Awardto Industry in 1966 or 1967. This study provided we11- documented accounts of how things looked in the 1ate-l960s and therefore represented an ideal starting-point for investigating post-innovation performance. The present case-studies of post-innovation performance reveal that the process of technological change at firm level does not, normal1y take the form of somewhat momentous, discrete innovations. Instead, evidence is provided to support, the idea that the firm can be viewed as the custodian of a bundle of technological knowledge which can be marshalled to develop a particular area of innovation with regard to the changing constraints and opportunities that are generated by a changing operational environment. By combining aspects of the literature on technological change with the principles of Schumpeterian competition, an evolutionary perspective on the process of technological change at firm level is developed. It is argued that this perspective is more appropriate to an interpretation of technological change than static models of discrete innovations. A central feature of this evolutionary perspective is that, in addition to continuity in the development of the supply of technology, there are parallel changes in user-requirements. The innovating finn is then cast in the role of mediator between changes in technology and the evolution of user-requirements. It is shown that users are not usually concerned with the intrinsic qualities of a technology as such but rather with a given technology's ability to supply a set of desirable properties. The concept of a users' property-set is developed as a means of defining the arena of canpetition within which rival firms vie to meet evolving user-requirements. Evidence is provided which shows how the users' property-set can change over time and thereby change the nature of the ecooomic selection mechanismam hence the competitive position of the innovating firm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Management & business studies Management Economics