Journal of Business and Management

Journal of Business and Management

ISSN: 2291-1995 (Print)    ISSN: 2291-2002 (Online)

Volume 2 (2013), No. 4, Pages 1-21

DOI: 10.12735/jbm.v2i4p01

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From Acting What's next to Speeding Trap: Co-Evolutionary Dynamics of an Emerging Technology-Leader

Sonya H. Wen1  Ji-Ren Lee2 

1Department of Business Administration, Tamkang University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
2Department of International Business, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


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How does technological innovation emerge and evolve? We approach such an inquiry by synthesizing the perspectives of dynamic capabilities and co-evolutionary dynamics to portray organizational routines and multi-phase strategic renewals of an emerging technology-leader. To untangle the emergence of technological innovation, we conducted a longitudinal case study on the first and the largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, TSMC, located in the emerging economy of Taiwan. The firm-case of TSMC illustrates two unique co-evolutionary paths, that is, transforming from industry-latecomer to technology-leader and from process innovation to product innovation. We found multi-motor co-evolutionary dynamics between TSMC and the semiconductor industry, where its co-evolutionary mechanism of managed selection in its creating phase of mature process-innovation (1987-1998) has migrated to hierarchical renewal in its extending phase of advanced process-innovation (1999-2001), and then to holistic renewal in its modifying phase of product-innovation (2002-2007). During such paths, our research discovered a unique type of organizational routines, acting what’s next because TSMC has proactively searched for potential problems sooner than its competitors. However, such routines, although driving technological innovation, also lead to a unique type of success-trap, that is, speeding trap. When an emerging technology-leader fundamentally changes the industrial structures to over-specs, the growth driven by technology speeding may trap such a leader in a loop of over-exploration.

JEL Classifications: O33, O53, L63

Keywords: dynamic capabilities, emerging economies, organizational routine, strategic renewal, technological innovation

To Cite this Article: Wen, S. H., & Lee, J. R. (2013). From acting what's next to speeding trap: Co-evolutionary dynamics of an emerging technology-leader. Journal of Business and Management, 2(4), 1-21.

Copyright © Sonya H. Wen & Ji-Ren Lee

Creative Commons License
This article is published under license to Science and Education Centre of North America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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From Acting What's next to Speeding Trap: Co-Evolutionary Dynamics of an Emerging Technology-Leader