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Technological Discontinuities and the Nature of Competition

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We revisit the Schumpeterian model of competition driven by the perennial gale of creative destruction. Not every innovation must necessarily lead to the destruction of incumbent firms. In many high-technology industries we observe a symbiotic coexistence between new entrant and incumbent firms. This phenomenon warrants more attention. We build upon the innovation and strategic alliance literature to develop the notion of ’complementary innovation.’ We advance propositions with respect to the following questions: What impact will a complementary innovation have on firm entry, interfirm cooperation, and the nature of competition? Based on the propositions advanced, we develop a cyclical model of industry dynamics initiated by a complementary innovation. The propositions and the cyclical model of industry dynamics are illustrated in a case study of the biopharmaceutical industry.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713698467

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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