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Bigger and safer: the diffusion of competitive advantage

Author: Greve, Henrich R. INSEAD Area: Organisational BehaviourIn: Strategic Management Journal, vol. 30, no. 1, January 2009 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 1-23.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: Research on the diffusion of technologies that give competitive advantage is needed to understand the role of technology in competition. Predictions on which firms first obtain useful technologies are made by cluster theory, which holds that the diffusion is geographically bounded, and network theory, which holds that adoption is more rapid in central network positions. These predictions can be evaluated using data on the diffusion of supplier innovations that give competitive advantage to firms in the buyer industry. Here, the diffusion of new ship types is studied using the heterogeneous diffusion model and data on shipping firm-shipbuilder networks, showing that valuable innovations remain rare because they are not adopted by distant firms in geographical and network space. The strong influence of geographically dispersed interfirm networks on technology diffusion justifies a greater role of interorganizational networks in the theory of competitive advantage
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Research on the diffusion of technologies that give competitive advantage is needed to understand the role of technology in competition. Predictions on which firms first obtain useful technologies are made by cluster theory, which holds that the diffusion is geographically bounded, and network theory, which holds that adoption is more rapid in central network positions. These predictions can be evaluated using data on the diffusion of supplier innovations that give competitive advantage to firms in the buyer industry. Here, the diffusion of new ship types is studied using the heterogeneous diffusion model and data on shipping firm-shipbuilder networks, showing that valuable innovations remain rare because they are not adopted by distant firms in geographical and network space. The strong influence of geographically dispersed interfirm networks on technology diffusion justifies a greater role of interorganizational networks in the theory of competitive advantage

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