Title: Accumulating technological capabilities through R&D projects: studies on the Brazilian defence industry

Authors: Stefan Bernat; Solmaz Filiz Karabag

Addresses: Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, 581 83, Sweden ' Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, 581 83, Sweden

Abstract: Emerging economy firms (EEFs) have striven to accumulate technological capabilities and promote indigenous innovation for technology upgrading and catching-up. By assuming that R&D projects affect firm capabilities, this study investigated how EEFs can accumulate technological capabilities through R&D activities. A technological-capability framework was proposed with the dimensions of organisational structure, innovation processes, practice, resources and entrepreneurial leadership. The framework guided an exploratory case study of three R&D projects in the Brazilian defence industry: the thrust vector control (TVC), software-defined radio (SDR) and radar projects. The TVC project utilised existing firm capabilities, whereas the SDR and radar projects needed to develop their capabilities from scratch. Different paths were adopted to accumulate technological capabilities and deliver the projects' outcomes. It was found that a balance between the dimensions may positively impact the rate at which technology capabilities are accumulated. Theoretical contributions and practical implications for EEFs are also discussed.

Keywords: emerging economy firms; EEFs; Brazilian defence industry; catching-up; organisational capability; technological capability; capability accumulation; capability dimensions; indigenous innovation; R&D projects; thrust vector control; TVC; software-defined radio; SDR; radar.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2018.093721

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2018 Vol.10 No.3/4, pp.203 - 230

Received: 02 Oct 2017
Accepted: 02 Apr 2018

Published online: 23 Jul 2018 *

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