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Technology Frames: The Art of Perspective and Interpretation in Strategy

Virginia Acha ()

No 109, SPRU Working Paper Series from SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: In this paper, I bring together the literatures of the economics of innovation, corporate strategy and managerial and organizational cognition to explore how and why companies come to different conclusions and strategies for technology when presented with essentially very similar situations and information. Building on the work of Orlikowski and Gash (1994) on technological frames, I seek to explore the role of the technology frame of key senior managers in defining corporate strategy with respect to technology. To provide an empirical basis for the study, I take the case of the 6 leading US vertically integrated oil companies involved in the exploration and production of petroleum during the period 1984 to 1997. The analysis considers two key salients for the technology frame which are operationalised for the six companies based on their R&D expenditures, patents, publications and contrasted with their operational performance measures. These salients reflect respectively adaptational mapping (whereby signals in the environment prompt adaptation) and formational mapping (whereby experience and path-dependency influence interpretation) within the technology frame. The findings indicate support for the proposed approach to proxying technology frames on the two key points of salience for the upstream petroleum industry, and the paper concludes with a short discussion of future lines of research.

Keywords: technology frames; upstream petroleum; technology strategy; adaptational mapping; formational mapping (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2004-01-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-ino and nep-tid
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