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Technological trajectories as moderators of firm-level determinants of innovation

Souitaris, V. (2002). Technological trajectories as moderators of firm-level determinants of innovation. Research Policy, 31(6), pp. 877-898. doi: 10.1016/s0048-7333(01)00154-8


Pavitt [Research Policy 13 (1984) 343] identified different patterns of technological change (technological trajectories) in four sectoral classes of industrial firms. This paper tests the applicability of Pavitt’s taxonomy (which derived from an economic perspective) to moderate the inconsistent results of the management literature on the determinants of technological innovation.

An empirical test in a sample of 105 Greek companies showed that firms in different trajectories of Pavitt’s taxonomy had differences in the rate of technological innovation. ‘Specialised suppliers’ and ‘science-based’ firms were found to have higher rates of innovation than ‘supplier dominated’ and ‘scale intensive’ ones. Most importantly, different variables proved to be significantly associated with innovation for each category of firms: innovation for ‘supplier dominated’ firms was related to the competitive environment, acquisition of information, technology strategy, risk attitude and internal co-ordination. For ‘scale intensive’ firms, the important determinants were related to the ability to raise funding and the education and experience of personnel. For ‘specialised suppliers’, innovation was associated with high growth rate and exporting as well as training and incentives offered to the employees to contribute towards innovation. ‘Science-based’ firms depended upon technology-related variables, education and experience of personnel, growth in profitability and panel discussions with lead customers. The application of Pavitt’s model can resolve the apparent problem of inconsistent results in the management research on the determinants of technological innovation.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Technological trajectory; Pavitt’s taxonomy; Technological innovation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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