Title: How can established firms survive technological discontinuities? A case study on the Japanese rechargeable battery industry
Authors: Masaaki Sakamoto, Shuzo Fujimura
Addresses: Graduate School of Innovation Management, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Fujimura Lab, 3-3-6, Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023, Japan. ' Graduate School of Innovation Management, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Fujimura Lab, 3-3-6, Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023, Japan
Abstract: Quite a number of established firms lose their momentum during the transition phase from a conventional technology to a new technology. How can established firms recover? We attempt to explore this question through a comparative case study analysis in the Japanese rechargeable battery industry. We extensively examine Sanyo, an established firm which recovered after a technology transition, by comparing it to a newcomer, Sony. We also compare it to Matsushita Battery, an established firm which did not successfully recover. These analyses lead to the following conclusions: There are conditions that give them opportunities for recovery. New applications or new attributes are often triggered by the introduction to the market of a new technology. This is a turning point in the competition between established firms and newcomers. Newcomers become conservative as they elevate their status in the conventional market, whereas established firms are freed from previous constraints and consequently find it easier to adopt new strategies. However, not every established firm can seize the opportunity to recover, or rather, make the necessary change to new attributes. An |integrated| organisational structure sometimes becomes a fundamental factor for employing an appropriate technology-portfolio strategy.
Keywords: technology environment; market environment; innovation management; competitive strategy; organisational inertia; technology portfolio; differentiation; integration; rechargeable battery industry; Japan; technological discontinuities; new technology; technology transition; organisational structure.
International Journal of Business Environment, 2010 Vol.3 No.3, pp.329 - 348
Published online: 23 Aug 2010 *Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article