Multi-Technology Corporations: Why They Have ‘Distributed’ Rather than ‘Distinctive Core’ Competencies

by Ove Granstrand, Pari Patel, Keith Pavitt



The world's largest, technologically active firms are more diversified in their technological competencies than in their product range, and this diversity is increasing over time. These firms invest beyond their distinctive core technological competencies in order to manage and co-ordinate technical change with their suppliers of components, equipment, and materials as well as to explore and assess the major new opportunities emerging from the knowledge base. A firm's technological competencies are "distributed" among technological fields, among different parts of the corporation, and among different corporate objectives. As a consequence, corporate policies that apply to products do not apply to technological competencies. Corporate performance can be significantly improved with increasing technological diversity.

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