Search Boundary, Knowledge Recombination, and Technological Breakthroughs

39 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2013

See all articles by Hyun Jung

Hyun Jung

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)

Jeongsik Lee

Drexel University - LeBow College of Business

Date Written: August 20, 2013

Abstract

We examine antecedents of knowledge recombination and technological breakthroughs. Conceptualizing exploration as a combinatory search of prior new-recombination (an original technology component), we juxtapose contrasting effects of the boundary in which firms search for prior new-recombination on the propensities that the resulting invention entails new recombination and becomes a technological breakthrough. We hypothesize that, when the search involves new recombination in prior inventions, the likelihood for the focal invention to generate new recombination is greatest for a boundary spanning search, but that for the focal invention to become a technological breakthrough is greatest for a local search. We find support from the analysis of U.S. nanotechnology patents granted between 1980 and 2006. Our findings highlight the role of a local search in generating technological breakthroughs.

Keywords: local search, boundary spanning search, recombinant knowledge, technological breakthrough, nanotechnology

JEL Classification: O30, O31, O32, O34

Suggested Citation

Jung, Hyun and Lee, Jeongsik, Search Boundary, Knowledge Recombination, and Technological Breakthroughs (August 20, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2319483 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2319483

Hyun Jung

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) ( email )

gil 50
Ulsan, 689-798
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jeongsik Lee (Contact Author)

Drexel University - LeBow College of Business ( email )

3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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