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Globally Radical Technologies and Locally Radical Technologies: The Role of Audiences in the Construction of Innovative Impact in Biotechnology

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2 Author(s)
Preeta M. Banerjee ; International Business School , Brandeis University, Waltham, USA ; Benjamin M. Cole

We argue that the decision of inventors to build upon a pioneering technology is a function not just of technical merit but also of social forces. The identification of technological predecessors in the patenting process (i.e., prior art) goes beyond merely delineating legal boundaries of a technological claim; the act, we posit, also provides a roadmap for potential inventors to follow. Thus, in technologies where such a roadmap does not exist (i.e., “new to the world” technologies), innovative impact is stifled as compared to technologies where such roadmaps are preserved (i.e., “new to the firm” technologies). To build our story, we distinguish between two types of radical technologies-globally radical technologies (GRTs) and locally radical technologies (LRTs)-and juxtapose them in an exploration of the technology's cumulative impact of entrepreneurial firm invention. Results from a negative binomial regression analysis of inventions in the U.S.-based biotechnology industry show that LRTs are far more likely to be cited in the long run than GRTs, as hypothesized.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:58 ,  Issue: 2 )