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Understanding Industrial and Corporate Change$
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Giovanni Dosi, David J. Teece, and Josef Chytry

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269426.001.0001

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The Slow Pace of Rapid Technological Change: Gradualism and Punctuation in Technological Change

The Slow Pace of Rapid Technological Change: Gradualism and Punctuation in Technological Change

Chapter:
(p.237) The Slow Pace of Rapid Technological Change: Gradualism and Punctuation in Technological Change
Source:
Understanding Industrial and Corporate Change
Author(s):

Daniel A. Levinthal

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269426.003.0008

This chapter champions the punctuated equilibrium framework of evolutionary biology as an alternative approach toward explaining technological change. It argues that the critical event is not a transformation of the technology, but speciation — the application of existing technology to a new domain of application. As a result of the distinct selection criteria and the degree of resource abundance in the new domain, a new technological form may emerge. This new technological form may be able to penetrate other niches and, in particular, may precipitate a process of ‘creative destruction’ and out-compete prior technologies. This framework is applied to an historical study of wireless communication, from the early experimental efforts of Hertz to the modern development of wireless telephony.

Keywords:   technological change, punctuated equilibrium framework, speciation, wireless telephony

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