Title: Diving into strange waters: incumbent adoption of emerging radical technology

Authors: William R. Carter; Manjula S. Salimath

Addresses: University of Baltimore, 1420 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA ' University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #311277, Denton, Texas 76203, USA

Abstract: The timing of incumbent firms' adoption of emerging radical technologies has important implications for firms and industries as well as for technological progress. Much is known about factors that lead to successful innovation or adaption to radical technological change, yet little empirical research has examined factors that distinguish between incumbents that choose to be early adopters versus those who do not. From a survey of key informants in firms facing emerging radical technologies, we compare early adopters versus other firms on variables related to learning capacity and technological capabilities. Findings suggest that early adopters possess greater pre-exploitative learning capabilities that enable faster and more effective issue interpretation. Early adopters also perceive they possess greater technological knowledge and commercialisation flexibility advantages over rivals that motivate early adoption moves even in the face of extreme uncertainty.

Keywords: radical innovations; strategic choice; incumbent response; technology adoption; emerging radical technology; radical technological change; incumbent technological innovation; absorptive capacity; pre-exploitative learning; early-mover advantages; commercialisation flexibility.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2019.098255

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2019 Vol.18 No.3, pp.346 - 368

Received: 18 Aug 2017
Accepted: 29 Dec 2017

Published online: 28 Feb 2019 *

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