International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development (5 papers in press)
Are African micro and small enterprises misunderstood? Unpacking the relationship between work organisation, capability development and innovation
by Erika Kraemer-Mbula, Edward Lorenz, Lotta Takala-Greenish, Oluseye Jegede, Tukur Garba, Musambya Mutambala, Timothy Esemu
Abstract: Mainstream studies on innovation consider innovation processes as necessarily driven by expenditures on formal R&D and the input of engineers and scientists with third-level degrees. This bias in the literature has led to the view that micro- and small enterprises (MSEs), which constitute the majority of Africas enterprise base, are non-innovative. Building on an existing critique largely emerging from developing countries, this study provides evidence that, despite their lack of formal R&D expenditures, MSEs in Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda are in fact active innovators. The paper argues that the mainstream literature fails to capture important dynamics and practices that are central to innovation in MSEs. Arguing that the way work activity is organised is closely linked to learning, capability development and, ultimately, innovation, the paper unpacks the relationships between these three processes with evidence from MSEs in the four African countries. The empirical findings demonstrate that an important basis for the innovativeness of African MSEs is the adaptability of employees and their ability to learn on the job, and to make use of their own ideas in solving the problems they face in work.
Keywords: innovation; micro and small enterprises; Africa; interactive learning; organisational learning; skills development; work organisation; competence building.
Export Competitiveness and Industrial Development: A Study of an Apparel Value Chain in a Small Island Developing State
by Shellyanne Wilson
Abstract: This paper examines how the implementation of vertical policies for apparel value chains in small island developing states (SIDS) impacts export competitiveness. A causal loop diagram was the basis of the preliminary conceptual framework, which was studied in a single case study of the Trinidad and Tobago apparel industry. The framework comprised three key elements: factors that affect competitiveness, vertical policy instruments and the beneficiaries of these policies. Six vertical policies implemented over a 10-year period were considered. The findings show that, while the vertical policies implemented are in keeping with prescribed instruments, export competitiveness has declined. The policy implications include the need for an overarching objective informing policies; the need for coherent policy making that considers the beneficiaries and the required skill-set, and the critical inputs by value chain actors, private sector and public sector to increase export competitiveness by way of GVC participation and GVC upgrading.
Keywords: apparel value chain; industrial development; export competitiveness; GVC participation; GVC upgrading; Small Island Developing States.
How much of Raymond Vernons product cycle thesis is still relevant today: Evidence from the Integrated Circuits Industry
by Rajah Rasiah, Xiao-Shan Yap
Abstract: Vernons product cycle thesis has increasingly been questioned as industries experienced differentiation and dispersal of production stages, while the need for proximity for interactions to take place between scientists and engineers, and consumers ended following the introduction of computerised inventory and production control, and planning systems. This paper re-examines this thesis using the integrated circuits (IC) industry. The results show that IC multi-nationals have continued to retain frontier R&D and wafer fabrication activities at locations endowed with strong human capital and research centers. However, unlike in the 1960s IC firms are attracted to relocate frontier R&D activities in distant host-sites, such as United States, Japan, Spain, Germany, Russia and Israel that are endowed with sophisticated science, technology and innovation infrastructure, and scientists and engineers. Also, IC manufacturing is too knowledge-intensive to be attracted to the Least Developed Countries.
Keywords: Product cycle; multi-national corporations; R&D; integrated circuits.
Technological Learning in Inter-Firm Collaborations: A Review And Research Agenda
by Nima Garoosi Mokhtarzadeh, Maryam Faghei
Abstract: Based on the rapid pace of technological changes in the present era, many organizations have come to the conclusion that they have no choice other than cooperating with each other in order to gain knowledge. Technological learning in inter-firm collaboration has turned into a necessity for many organizations. However, organizations have a rudimentary knowledge about its process and the way it materializes. In this review, in order to understand the process of technological learning better, Papers with the following characteristics are searched for: 1. They should discuss the process of technological learning 2. They should have inter-firm collaboration as the Level of analysis for their models. As a result, six models were found which are investigated here. First, each of the models is introduced. Then, the level and the definition of technological learning is discussed based on the model. Different models approximately imply the same definition of inter-firm technological learning, however, the level of technological learning in them is different. This review highlights directions for future research with the aim of advancing the literature on inter-firm technological learning.
Keywords: Technological learning; technological capability; inter-firm collaborations; alliances; technology transfer; technological knowledge; knowledge absorption; knowledge creation.
A new approach to R&D intensity classes illustrated on manufacturing industries in South Africa
by Nazeem Mustapha, Lwando Kondlo
Abstract: This paper examines the suitability and usefulness of OECD definitions and cut-off levels for classes of R&D intensity as a classification scheme for developing countries. It does this by developing a method for determining R&D intensity classes from data mining techniques. This improves on the original methodology of Hatzichronoglou (1997) by using clustering methods to define the members and boundaries of a technology class. Previous applications of this methodology relied on arbitrary choices of cut-off levels for technology classes and considerations of stability over time. The approach demonstrated may be implemented on a global level, but is used to examine new categories of high-, medium- and low- R&D intensity at a local level, using data on South Africa. It identifies the electronics- communications sector as the only high-R&D intensity industry, and it determines that only two R&D intensity classes were evident between 2010 and 2015 in South Africa. The results suggest that there is currently no high-tech industry in South Africa, and that a strategy that seeks simply to promote the export growth of such sectors is na
Keywords: research and development; innovation management; manufacturing; developing economy; R&D intensity classes; South Africa; innovation policy; science policy; high technology; taxonomy.