Combinative capabilities and organizational learning in latecomer firms

the case of the Korean semiconductor industry

John A. Mathews*, Dong Sung Cho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The emergence of firms from East Asian countries in advanced high-technology sectors such as semiconductors, is one of the striking features of world business developments over the course of the past decade. Explanations for the successes of such firms are commonly given in terms of transient, external or contingent factors, such as low costs or government subsides or just plain luck. In this paper an alternative account is given, based on resource leverage and organizational learning undertaken by the latecomer firms themselves. The paper develops a model of technological learning by latecomer firms, and then demonstrates its applicability in the case of the creation of a semiconductor industry in Korea. Data is presented to support the proposition that it is indeed single-loop and double-loop organizational learning that underpins these firms' successful entry strategies. This approach sheds light on the strategies to be followed by firms in advanced countries when they seek to enter knowledge-intensive, high-technology sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


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