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Standardization Process of Systems Technologies: Creating a Balance between Competition and Cooperation

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Many firms are experimenting with how to standardize new technologies. They may use proprietary technologies for their products and services, and let them compete in the market selection. Alternatively, they can cooperate to jointly set a standard and experiment with combinations of market process and cooperation. If firms let the market decide, they can compete with technologies and need not invest time and effort in hammering out a standard. If they do incur the costs of negotiated standardization, they may enable end users to realize the benefits of standards. A hybrid standardization process combines the advantages of both market selection and negotiated decision making. This paper presents a contingency framework to identify conditions that will affect the preferred standardization process for vendors who introduce new technologies. A major contingency that this paper points to is the systemic nature of technologies in information and communication technology industries. The more systemic the technology is (in a way to be clarified), the less likely that firms will establish a hybrid standardization process. One advantage of decomposing technology systems in smaller components (modules) is that this approach enables firms to combine market selection with negotiated selection of standards.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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