Disruptions in Global Industries Caused by Controversial Technologies: The Case of Lead-Free Soldering in Electronics

Disruptions in Global Industries Caused by Controversial Technologies: The Case of Lead-Free Soldering in Electronics

Roman Boutellier (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) and Andreas Biedermann (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-901-4.ch023
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Abstract

In this chapter, the raise of a business phenomenon is introduced and illustrated with the case of the ban of lead-bearing solders in electronics manufacturing: The disruptions caused by controversial technologies. Technologies are praised initially as problem solvers and frequently evolve into problem causers themselves. Affected companies are facing the threat of technological obsolescence and fundamental change processes. A framework of the social environment and the value chain helps the management to better understand the relevant mechanisms. Using the case of lead-bearing solders, the chapter illustrates the far-reaching consequences of the forced phase-out of these alloys, which have been used since the beginning of industrial electronics production. Lead bearing solders are one example of many technologies, which are candidates to become controversial. Increased awareness of side effects, globalization, and intensified use of single technologies indicate that this management task will gain momentum in the electronics industry and others.

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