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Title: The evolution of systems-integration capability in latecomer contexts : the case of Iran's thermal and hydro power generation systems
Author: Kiamehr, Mehdi
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2012
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This study concerns building capabilities within the electricity sector of Iran, a developing country. It focuses on two areas of high-technology development,• hydro electricity generation plants and thermal electricity generation plants, and investigates the accumulation of local capabilities to undertake large and complex development projects in these two areas. The empirical aim of the thesis is to analyse how far the local capabilities have advanced and what can be done to enhance them. The business of engineering and developing complex electricity generation systems, such as hydro and thermal power plants, is an example of high-value high-technology capital goods industries (sometimes referred to as CoPS in the innovation studies literature). This literature suggests that systems integration is a core capability of leading suppliers in CoPS industries. Most studies of capability building at the firm level in latecomer contexts, however, have focused on mass-manufacturing firms rather than on project-based ones. The CoPS literature, on the other hand, has investigated the concept of systems integration capability within the context of developed economies. Therefore, this research aims to examine latecomer systems integration capability (LSIC) in these two CoPS areas in Iran to develop our understanding of the nature and evolution of LSIC. This research is carried out as an exploratory case study, combining some elements of latecomer theory, systems integration and capability theory to develop the analytical framework for the study. The framework is then applied to evidence gathered from two major Iranian systems integrators that lead engineering and development activities involved in the construction of power plants. Evidence is gathered on the evolution of micro-level attributes, including people, knowledge, processes and structures, underlying LSIC, along with changes in products and outcomes of systems integration activities. These categories of evidence are combined with the evidence on the internal context of the firms and their external environment to reveal their achievements in the accumulation of LSIC, and to understand the dynamics behind the evolution of LSIC. The analysis of this thesis shows how the two Iranian firms entered into the business of systems integration of power plant systems, and have gradually built higher levels of LSIC, allowing them to succeed in competitive local and overseas markets, and to diversify into local markets for other complex projects. Nevertheless, there have been imbalances, spurts of rapid capability growth, periods of falling behind in specific areas of LSIC, close connections and relationships (amounting to a co-evolution among LSIC areas), and major investments and strategies to remedy imbalances, and to sustain the firms' progress. This thesis also attempts to explain these complex variations in the evolutionary paths of LSIC. In addition to contributing to the latecomer capability literature, this research suggests some policy and business strategy implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N000 Business and Management