Inderscience Publishers

Technological learning and firm-level technological capability building: analytical framework and evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms

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Technological learning plays a crucial role in the development of a firm's technological capability in late-industrialising countries. Based on the comprehensive case studies of five, large Chinese technology-based manufacturing firms, this paper explores three complementary, interdependent and dynamic patterns of firm-level technological capability building: (i) the import of technology, (ii) co-innovation, and (iii) in-house R&D. This paper seeks to further an analytical framework for linking technological learning strategy to patterns of technological capability building, and this paper also aims to present an in-depth case analysis to apply such framework. The framework consists of three core elements (i.e., gap analysis of technological capability, formulation of technological learning strategy and patterns of technological capability building) and four supporting elements (strategy, organisation, exogenous environment and firm's performance). The results show that these patterns are complementary, interdependent, dynamic and co-evolving for firms in late-industrialising countries to build extensive technological capability, improve technological learning performance and rapidly respond to a hyper-competitive networked environment.

Keywords: technological learning, learning strategy, technological capability building, Chinese manufacturing, China, industrialising economies, innovation, networking, technology management

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