Title: Path dependence as a political construct, the disruptive influence of technology and Japanese aerospace

Authors: Steve McGuire, Felicia Fai, Toshiya Ozaki

Addresses: School of Management, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK. ' School of Management, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK. ' College of Global Business, Rikkyo University, 3-34-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro,Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 171-8501 Japan

Abstract: Japan has largely failed to develop an extensive aerospace industry designing and manufacturing entire aircraft. One explanation has been that the political cum security relationship between the US and Japan precluded the development of an autonomous aerospace industry. This relationship may be changing. Japan has succeeded in gaining extensive sub-contracting work on the new Boeing 787, including technology-rich work on wing design. As such, this paper puts a different take on the concept of path dependence; that it can be a social construction. This paper considers whether technological change in the sector is, however, opening opportunities for Japanese firms to break free from their current trajectory.

Keywords: technological trajectories; Japanese aerospace industry; path dependence; Japan; sub-contracting; wing design; technological change.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2010.032682

International Journal of Technology Management, 2010 Vol.50 No.3/4, pp.367 - 379

Published online: 12 Apr 2010 *

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