Title: Technology management – a complex adaptive systems approach

Authors: Ian P. McCarthy

Addresses: University of Warwick, Organisational Systems and Strategy Unit, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

Abstract: There are systems methods and evolutionary processes that can help organisations understand the innovative patterns and competitive mechanisms that influence the creation, management and exploitation of technology. This paper presents a specific model based on the evolutionary processes of variation, selection, retention and struggle, coupled with fitness landscape theory. This latter concept is a complex adaptive systems theory that has attained recognition as an approach for visually mapping the strategic options an evolving system could pursue. The relevance and utility of fitness landscape theory to the strategic management of technology is explored, and a definition and model of technological fitness provided. The complex adaptive systems perspective adopted by this paper, views organisations as evolving systems that formulate strategies by classifying, selecting, adopting and exploiting various combinations of technological capabilities. A model called the strategy configuration chain is presented to illustrate this strategic process.

Keywords: technology strategy; evolution; complex adaptive systems; fitness landscapes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2003.003134

International Journal of Technology Management, 2003 Vol.25 No.8, pp.728-745

Published online: 12 Jul 2003 *

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