Title: Reconsidering technology transfer

Authors: Gillian M. Marcelle

Addresses: University of Sussex (SPRU), Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RF, UK

Abstract: ||Technology transfer|| is a misnomer; this popular phrase and the studies from which it originates often suggest passivity and inertia on the part of developing country recipient firms. This paper, which uses the technological capability building system (TCB) approach as a conceptual framework, suggests that firms in developing countries exercise constrained agency in technological acquisition processes. The evidence discussed here is taken from a study of technological capability accumulation by twenty-six firms in the telecommunication sector of four developing countries: Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa. Important insights into technological acquisition by firms in a service sector in developing countries emerged from that study, such as: the existence of specific boundary management capabilities for managing relationships with suppliers; confirmation that firms use different mechanisms for acquiring codified and tacit knowledge; and support for the view that technical change and industry features have significant effects on technology acquisition strategies and their effectiveness.

Keywords: technological capability building; technological capability accumulation; service industries; learning; developing countries; telecommunication firms; African firms; technology transfer; technology acquisition; innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2003.003168

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2003 Vol.2 No.3, pp.227-248

Published online: 13 Jul 2003 *

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