Knowledge and Competitive Advantage: The Coevolution of Firms, Technology, and National Institutions

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Nov 10, 2003 - Business & Economics - 294 pages
0 Reviews
Entrepreneurs, managers, and policy makers must make decisions about a future that is inherently uncertain. Since the only rational guide for the future is the past, analysis of previous episodes in industrial development can shape informed decisions about what the future will hold. Historical scholarship that seeks to uncover systematically the causal processes transforming industries is thus of vital importance to the executives and managers shaping business policy today. With this in mind, Johann Peter Murmann compares the development of the synthetic dye industry in Great Britain, Germany, and the United States through the lenses of evolutionary theory. The rise of this industry constitutes an important chapter in business, economic, and technological history because synthetic dyes, invented in 1856, were the first scientific discovery quickly to give rise to a new industry. Just as with contemporary high tech industries, the synthetic dye business faced considerable uncertainty that led to many surprises for the agents involved. After the discovery of synthetic dyes, British firms led the industry for the first eight years, but German firms came to dominate the industry for decades; American firms, in contrast, played only a minor role in this important development. Murmann identifies differences in educational institutions and patent laws as the key reasons for German leadership in the industry. Successful firms developed strong ties to the centers of organic chemistry knowledge. As Murmann demonstrates, a complex coevolutionary process linking firms, technology, and national institutions resulted in very different degrees of industrial success among the dye firms in the three countries.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Series Editors Preface
Authors Preface
Acknowledgments
Timeline of Key Events in Development of the Synthetic Dye Industry before 1014
CHAPTER 1 Introduction
The Puzzle
Is This Book for You?
Key Ideas in Evolutionary Theory
Purpose of the Matched Comparisons
96
The Cast of Firms
97
The World of Pioneers 185765
106
Science Unbound 186685
120
The Age of Bayer 18861914
133
Managerial Action Make a Difference?
161
CHAPTER 4 The Coevolution of National Industries and Institutions 164 Overview of Collective Strategies
164
Forging a National Science Capability
165

Evolution of Technology
17
Evolution of Institutions
19
A Sketch of Coevolution
21
The Economics and Science of DyeMaking
24
The Road Ahead
27
CHAPTER 2 CountryLevel Performance Differences and Their Institutional Foundations 32 Intriguing Questions about Industrial Leadership
32
Performance under the Microscope
35
Background Information on the Three Countries
45
National Research and Training Systems
50
Supporting Organizations and the State
62
The AcademicIndustrial Knowledge Network
69
Social Organization of Production at the Shop Floor
80
Intellectual Property Right Regimes
84
CHAPTER D Three Times Two Case Studies of Individual Firms
94
Lobbying for a Supportive Patent System
179
Influencing Tariff Laws
192
CHAPTER j Toward an Institutional Theory of Competitive Advantage
194
Theoretical Gaps
195
Evolutionary Interpretation of the Key Findings
199
A Theory of Coevolution
209
Implications for Industrial Organization Studies
221
Opportunities for Future Research on Industrial Development
230
APPENDIX 1 A Technological History of Dyes
239
APPENDIX 11 Short Description of Databases on Firms and Plants
258
Bibliography
269
Index
287
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Johann Peter Murmann is Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of International Business Studies and is the editor of Evolutionary Theories in the Social Sciences.

Bibliographic information