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Changes in Industrial Leadership and Catch-Up by Latecomers in Shipbuilding Industry

Lim, Chaisung and Kim, Y and Lee, Keun (2015): Changes in Industrial Leadership and Catch-Up by Latecomers in Shipbuilding Industry. Published in: Asian Journal of Technology Innovation , Vol. 25, No. 1 (2017): pp. 61-78.

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This study considers the shipbuilding industry to explain the successive changes in leadership from the Schumpeterian perspective. The window of opportunity for Japan to forge ahead of the UK was the arrival and employment of new technologies, a method referred to as welding block. The Japanese firms also adopted path-creation, a strategy that involves the use of innovations more promptly than the incumbent UK, which had delayed adoption due to the opposition of labor unions. The leadership shift from Japan to Korea also represents path-creation given that Korean firms responded quickly to the rise of a new window of opportunity (i.e., systematized 3D computer aided design technologies) and met the newly rising demand in large vessels that was the second window of opportunity. Both of these cases of path-creation are an adoption and follow-on innovation mode because the latecomers not only adopted new technologies, but also reinvented them further into a new system of production. This study also finds the unique, institutional nature of the source of the incumbent trap in the shipbuilding industry, which is different from that associated with the relative costs and benefits of new versus old technologies. In addition, this study identifies the peculiarity of the technological regimes of the shipbuilding sector and the associated unique nature of the technological window of opportunity, which are not merely competence-destroying innovations (Tushman and Anderson 1986) of component technologies but a consolidation of a new systematized technology that has changed the entire process of shipbuilding.

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