Evolutionary diffusion: Internal and external methods used to acquire encompassing, complementary, and incremental technological changes in the lithotripsy industry


Journal Article

This study links theories concerning methods that firms use to acquire technology with theories concerning types of technological change. We place particular emphasis on interorganizational relationships. We predict that firms will often acquire know-how needed for encompassing technological change through equity-based arrangements with other organizations, complementary technological changes through nonequity interorganizational arrangements, and incremental changes through internal R&D. Our theory draws on perspectives that emphasize the need to develop new competencies within a business organization and to protect the value of existing competencies. Our empirical analysis examines methods of technology acquisition that firms have used in the commercialization of medical lithotripters, which are devices that fragment stones in the kidney and gall bladder. The analysis contributes to a better understanding of how technology acquisition methods vary with the manner in which technological change relates to a firm's existing capabilities. The study also helps develop our understanding of the evolutionary processes by which capabilities diffuse through an industry. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nagarajan, A; Mitchell, W

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1063 - 1077

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0143-2095

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(1998110)19:11<1063::AID-SMJ993>3.0.CO;2-W

Citation Source

  • Scopus