Document Type

Article

Abstract

According to the life cycle model of technological evolution, after the emergence of a dominant design, technological product industries undergo an “era of incremental change.” This era of incremental change is not well understood in the existing literature. Although the period is typically characterized in terms of stability and minimal innovation, we find that the era of incremental change can be actually quite dynamic. Through our research into the period of time following the emergence of a dominant design in automotive emission control systems, we find that the overall product innovation in the industry did not decline immediately following the dominant design, and increased throughout the era of incremental change. Further, we find that firms maintain their attention on the same core components that they innovated upon before the dominant design, but that these components make up less of the overall proportion of total innovation throughout the era of incremental change. Finally, we found that the concentration of innovating firms in the industry increases immediately following the dominant design, and this concentration decreases over time throughout the era of incremental change. Findings imply a pattern of contraction and expansion in the era of incremental change that extends previous work on the technological product life cycles and helps to characterize the era of incremental change in a novel way.

Disciplines

Business Administration, Management, and Operations

Comments

NOTICE IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLISHER POLICY: This is the author’s final manuscript version, post-peer-review, of a work accepted for publication in Research Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process may not be reflected in this document; changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. This version has been formatted for archiving, including pagination; a definitive version was subsequently published in Research Policy, 42(8): 1469- 1481 (September 2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2013.05.004

2013.rp.42.unformatted.pdf (709 kB)
Author's unformatted final accepted manuscript