We explore the relationship between a firm's organization and its ability to face a radical technological change. We suggest that, during such a change, the presence of both in-house upstream knowledge and downstream market linkages, within a firm's boundary, has its advantages. We test our predictions in the context of the robotics industry where manufacturers of mechanically controlled "brawny" robots, which were valued mainly for their payload capacity, faced the advent of electrically controlled "brainy" robots that emphasized accuracy and repeatability. We find that "preadapted" firms - the ones with prior relevant technological knowledge and with access to internal users of "brainy" robots - were the innovation leaders in the emerging new technology but were laggards in the old technology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Disruptive innovation
- Radical technological change
- Robotics industry