Cross-Products Technology Spillover in Inducing a Self-Propagating Dynamism for the Shift to a Service Oriented Economy: Lessons from High-Performance Fine Ceramics

Article excerpt

While it is strongly expected that firms are switching from manufacturing technology (MT) driven growth-oriented trajectory to information technology (IT) driven functionality- initiated trajectory in a service oriented economy, substance of the mechanism in this switching has still remained a black box. Innovation of high quality materials is the basis of the next generation industry and fine ceramics are expected to lead a way for this innovation as they are invented by innovative manufacturing process. Consequently, fine ceramics have accomplished a rapid development through substituting for a broad range of materials, both high-performance materials and structural materials. However, contrary to a remarkable development of the fine ceramics as high performance materials, structural materials have experienced stagnating trends. This contrast can be attributed to the differences of functionality between two materials which is quite similar to the contrasting development trajectories between IT and MT. Careful observation of the certain fine ceramics which shifted from structural materials to high-performance materials recently demonstrates technology spillover carried by researchers through their active interactions between two fields of R&D. This finding leads to additional finding that such active interactions of researchers explore cross-products technology spillover leading to a self-propagating development typically observed in IT development dynamism. These observations could provide a significant insight to an elucidation of a mechanism in facilitating a switching from MT driven growth-oriented trajectory to IT driven functionality-initiated trajectory for a service oriented economy. This paper, on the basis of the empirical analysis of the development trajectories of fine ceramics over the last quarter century, demonstrates this hypothetical view.

(ProQuest-CSA LLC: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

Corresponding to a paradigm shift from an industrial society to an information society, switching from manufacturing technology (MT) driven 'growth-oriented trajectory' (which achieves economic growth leveraged by high economic growth) to information technology (IT) driven 'functionality-initiated trajectory' (which maintains sustainable growth based on development of new functionality) is expected (Watanabe et al., 2005). However, substance of the mechanism facilitating this switching has still remained a black box.

Innovation of high materials is the basis of the development of the next-generation industry and fine ceramics are expected to lead a way for this innovation as they are invented with carefully refined and synthesized raw materials by sophisticated manufacturing process. As a consequence of such invention, fine ceramics have exhibited rapid development through substituting for a broad range of materials, both high-performance materials and structural materials. However, contrary to a remarkable development of the fine ceramics as high performance materials, structural materials have experienced stagnating trends. This contrast can be attributed to the differences of functionality between two materials which are quite similar to the contrasting development trajectories between IT and MT. This observation prompts us a hypothetical view that 'fine ceramics with higher function and wider utilization would perform self-propagating growth by instilling new functionality in the process of their growth'. While fine ceramics as structural materials exhibit stagnating trend, careful comparative analysis of these ceramics by utilization pattern exhibits that one particular fine ceramics demonstrate exceptionally dramatic increase in its production in recent years. This observation prompts us the second hypothetical view that 'certain function spilled-over from high-performance fine ceramics to the structural fine ceramics'. Given the active interactions of the researchers between R&D in both ceramics, the third hypothetical view is that 'This spillover can be attributed to the interactions of researchers involved in two research fields' can be prompted. …