Title: Technology trajectories and strategies
Author: Pascal Bye, Jean-Jacques Chanaron
Address: French National Institute for Agricultural Research, REP-INRA, BP 47X 38040, Grenoble Cedex, France. ' French National Centre for Scientific Research, IREPD, UA CNRS, BP 47X 38040, Grenoble Cedex, France
Journal: Int. J. of Technology Management, 1995 Vol.10, No.1, pp.45 - 66
Abstract: While research and development expenditure and investment have been recognized for the last 50 years as one of the key factors explaining growth and industrial dynamics on a macro-economic level, the literature concerning the functions and role of R&D at firm level is much more recent and often limited to case studies and specific periods or contexts. Most of these analyses tend to be descriptive and their conclusions are often unsatisfactory. This paper, which is explicitly based on evolutionary background, aims to highlight the relation between the position of a firm within a technology trajectory and the means allotted to creative technology activities. A part of these means is acquired with private or public institutions while the other part depends upon the firm's knowledge portfolio and culture. There are, however, three types of difficulty involved here: difficulties resulting from the heterogeneity of the theoretical references; the problem of the incompatibility between the indicators and instruments evolved by these different theoretical references; and, lastly, the use in micro-economic analysis of concepts and methods adapted from macro-economic analysis and which are not transposable. The paper is dealing with three main themes: the dynamics of technology; the structure or composition of R&;D costs according to the position of a firm along its technology trajectory; the strategic and organizational questions which follow from this relationship.
Keywords: R&D costs; research and development; innovation; technology management; technology strategy; technology trajectory.