Inderscience Publishers

Convergent and divergent technological and market strategies for global leadership

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This paper analyses the technological and market strategies of eight technology-intensive companies (5 American, 2 Japanese, I European) that have achieved global leadership through strategic focus. Both technological and market strategies are divided into two broad categories: (1) convergent; (2) divergent. Therefore, four strategy clusters could occur. A convergent technology strategy is defined as the development and synergistic integration of all technologies necessary to achieve worldwide leadership for a new product. A typical example is the first laptop computer by Toshiba. A divergent technological strategy is defined as the development of alternative technologies, related or unrelated, that will assure leadership in a given market. A typical example is General Electric Medical Systems. A convergent market strategy is defined as the utilisation of all marketing efforts to gain worldwide leadership in a specific market segment, as for example General Electric Medical Systems. Finally, a divergent market strategy is defined as targeting a broad spectrum of customers across many industries, with a great variety of diverse applications. A typical example is the Toray Company of Japan which has achieved worldwide leadership in the application of carbon fibres. The paper discusses the characteristics of the four strategy clusters, their applicability on a contingency basis, and their impact on corporate strategy and organisation. Guidelines for practical implementation are offered, which appear to be applicable within the triad of North America, Western Europe and Japan.

Keywords: Apple Computer, General Electric, high-tech marketing, MapInfo, market strategy, Motorola, Rhone-Poulenc, role of technology, technology strategy, Toray, Toshiba

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