Keywords: organisational learning, knowledge management, technological capabilities, strategic capabilities, technology strategy, latecomer firms, Mexico, knowledge creation, industrialising economies, technology management
Instability of the technology strategy and building of the first strategic capabilities in a large Mexican firm
The transition process from building a minimum knowledge base to deploying the first strategic capabilities is a neglected issue in the literature on technological accumulation in Latin American firms. This paper analyses three organisational processes that may affect this stage and discusses the role of an unstable firm's technology strategy in influencing such processes. Based on a detailed case study of Vitro S.A., one of the largest and most successful Mexican industrial groups, this paper argues that a context characterised by macroeconomic instability and distortions, and the lack of vision of the firm's top management about the role of technology in competitiveness, contribute to explaining the instability of the firm's technology strategy. This, in turn, is a major factor that negatively influences the conversion of individual into organisational learning, the coordination of different learning strategies, and the steadiness of the knowledge-creation process. The weaknesses in these processes make the deployment of strategic capabilities and the completion of the transition process more difficult.