The Longitudinal Study of Highly-Impact-Technology Enterprises in the ICT Industry: A Social Network Perspective

The Longitudinal Study of Highly-Impact-Technology Enterprises in the ICT Industry: A Social Network Perspective

Hsi-Yin Yeh, Mu-Hsuan Huang, Dar-Zen Chen
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/jgim.2014100104
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Patent citation can be viewed as an indicator for technical impact and technical invention. Highly cited patents represent the “prior art” of many issued patents and are likely to contain significant technological advances. Enterprises that produced these highly cited patents may influence industrial technological development. Because the technologically intensive industries require technology innovation to constantly adapt to the changing environment, any enterprises can disrupt the market and produce high impact technologies. This study aims to explore highly cited technologies in the ICT industry and uses social network analysis and knowledge-based characteristics to investigate the transitions of highly-impact-technology enterprises. The longitudinal analysis of technological leaders examines competitive tendency in specific fields to anchor the positions of the enterprises. This study proposes a different viewpoint to analyze highly-impact-technology enterprises based on social network perspective and knowledge-based characteristics.
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The information and communication technologies (abbreviated as ICT) industry is technology-intensive, attracting much attention globally for its constant unpredictability. Interest in ICT industrial networks emerged as companies in the industry have become more dependent on each other. Furthermore, the fragmented structure of the ICT industry resulted a wide scope of enterprises range from service providers to manufacturers of physical goods (Gabrielsson & Gabrielsson, 2004). Products such as software, mobile phones, IT systems and communication network providers all fall within the wider ICT industry. Given the dynamic nature of ICT technology network structure, it is essential to consider the transition of highly impact technologies. This study aims to examine whether there are significant differences in highly impact technologies in ICT industry. Enduring technology innovation is regarded as an important issue in the ICT industry, and the enterprises directing highly impact technologies might lead to greater influences on the industry for them. Therefore, understanding the development of the highly-impact-technology enterprises is critical.

Grant and Tan (2013) indicated that the capacity to operate the global network of relationships is useful to the extraordinary technological and process innovations. As business firms increasingly operate as part of highly distributed ecosystems, developing inter-organizational activities are expected to create greater efficiencies in the use of resources and increase profitability (Markus, Sia & Soh, 2012). Research on IT resource management through network arrangements has been prominent and plentiful, particularly conceptualizing inter-organizational IT relationships (Niederman, Alhorr, Park & Tolmie, 2012). Networks are institutions that feature goal-directed exchange of resources and activities for a specified set of outcomes. In the IT field, understanding the industrial network structure assists enterprises’ developing the effective inter-organizational IT resource management which is essentially an intensive, collaborative, and often highly political process with strategic decision making (Lacity & Willcocks, 2008). Managers understanding how highly impact technology resource is distributed in the industrial network will enable them to clarify how resource management is being enacted in practice (Chong & Tan, 2012). Simultaneously, through observing the technological position of enterprises in the ICT network may provide more effective ways of managing IT resource that will deliver the results desired or better.

Highly impact technologies are of particular concern for technology-intensive industries. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) indicated that 90% to 95% of technological inventions can be found in patent, which serves as an important information source. Through patents, firms are granted exclusive rights to prevent or exclude other companies from making, using or selling their inventions. Firms conduct patent analysis to identify key technologies in which their technological portfolios and competitive landscapes built and assessed (Chen & Chang, 2010). Therefore, patent analysis can be employed to delineate the patterns of technological development and assess the competitive advantages of the firms in academic and practical intelligence.

Patent analysis has been widely used as an approach to technological management (Huang & Yang, 2013). Its advantage is that patent data is available for a rather long period and provides detailed technological information. Patent citation method has been proposed in the literature to measure the interrelation among innovations (Alcacer & Gittelman, 2004; Lo, 2010). Citation impact is an accepted measure of retrospective technological impact and can be viewed as an indicator for technical impact and technical invention. Additionally, highly cited patents have been linked to inventor awards and high-value inventions, representing the “prior art” of subsequently issued patents and are likely to contain significant technological advances. For example, Carpenter, Narin and Woolf (1981) found that patents related to IR 100 invention awards (now known as the annual ‘R&D 100 Awards’) are cited twice as often as typical patents. Therefore, the enterprises which master highly cited patents may have significant influences on industrial technology developments.

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