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Title: The role of user firms in industrial innovation : the case of machine tools in Japan and Korea.
Author: Lee, Kong Rae.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3575 1769
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1993
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The purpose of this thesis is to explore how and by what paths a developing economy like Korea builds a competitive and innovative capital goods sector. The enquiry focuses on the role of user firms in shaping the dynamics of machine tools innovation. It develops the hypotheses that the users, on the one hand, create a basis for the specialised suppliers to embark on a dynamic path to innovation through investment activities and on the other, they become involved directly in the development and commercialisation of machine tools; and that such user activities have a positive impact on the building up of competitive advantage not only for users themselves but for specialised suppliers. In order to confinn the hypotheses, this thesis carries out empirical investigations into Japan and Korea. It analyses quantitative data at the industry level with some firm-specific information for the Japanese case, while it analyses the results of a field survey for the Korean case. The results show that the users in both countries, represented by car makers, appear to have involved themselves in the technological and entrepreneurial entry into machine tools along with making active investments. In consequence, they made a considerable contribution to machine tools innovation, increasing the competitive advantage for the machine tool sector as well as user sectors in both countries. This thesis also attempts to apply the hypotheses to an international-level analysis. It develops the notion that the international differences in the investment of local user sectors explain the international asymmetries of machine tools innovation, bringing the consequence of the differences in the competitiveness of the machine tool sector as well as its user sectors. Cross-country analyses are conducted in order to test the notion. The results reveal that the intercountry variations in the investment performance in national user sectors are closely associated with the international gaps in machine tools innovation, which in tum significantly explain the variations of the export performance between countries in both the machine tool sector and its user sectors. These theoretical and empirical analyses produce many useful policy implications for developing the capital goods sector of Korea as well as other developing countries. They also contribute to the understanding of the dynamic process of industrial innovation and so to the development of innovation theory. In addition, the study yields an insight into why Japan has succeeded in a large area of user sectors and the machine tool sector over a short period of time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Technological innovation in industry