Title: Technology strategy in networks

Authors: David Ford, Richard Thomas

Addresses: Professor of Marketing, School of Management, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY, England, UK. Department of Business Organisation, School of Management, Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton, EH14 4AS, Scotland, UK

Abstract: This paper is based on a research program which aims to increase our understanding of how companies manage their technology. The research has led to ideas on the ||company technological system||. This is the mechanism by which a company acquires its own technologies, as well as gaining access to those of other companies and by which it applies these technologies to specific or generic customer needs. Central to the idea of the technological system is the function of the firm in combining technological resources from a variety of sources for specific applications. In other words, we recognise the importance of the technological resources that are owned or controlled by other actors. In this way, the firm is characterised not only by the configuration of its own technology, but in addition by its relationships with and linkages to the systems — or discrete technologies — of others. This means that a meaningful technology strategy is inevitably a network strategy. The paper explores the link between technology system, strategy and network dynamics and illustrates this briefly by using illustrations drawn from research into the use of suppliers as sources of distinctive technological competence.

Keywords: company technology system; industrial networks; technology; strategy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1997.002582

International Journal of Technology Management, 1997 Vol.14 No.6/7/8, pp.596-612

Published online: 29 Jul 2003 *

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