A special issue of International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
Technology can be defined as a particular form of knowledge applied to the development and commercialisation of new products, services and processes. Technology strategy encompasses the long-term decisions that define how a firm builds, nurtures and exploits technology to sustain economic value creation.
These strategic decisions concern, for example, the timing with which a new technology should be commercialised; under which conditions a technology should be out-licensed or sold; whether the firm should devote resources to the development of radically or incrementally new products and processes. Technology strategy decisions require the careful application of appropriate tools and methodologies, such as Intellectual Property (IP) management, technology foresight, technology evaluation and portfolio management techniques.
One overlooked issue in existing research is how family governance affects technology strategy decisions. Besides the dominance of family businesses in economies all over the world, this gap is particularly critical because there are important theoretical reasons to consider family firms as differing from non-family enterprises in several aspects of technology strategy.
For example, the typical family firm’s long-term orientation, parsimonious preservation of resources and limited use of external equity financing may cause family businesses, in comparison with non-family enterprises, to have a lower propensity and capacity to engage themselves in the exploration of radically-new technologies, rather than in the development of incremental technologies. Similarly, the family firms’ acknowledged aversion towards control losses in order to preserve their socioemotional wealth may reduce out-licencing and in-licensing of new technologies.
Based on these premises, it is very surprising that theory building in technology strategy research has by and large overlooked the importance of the ‘family’ variable.
The purpose of this special issue is to contribute to filling this gap, by encouraging theoretical and empirical studies at the intersection of the technology strategy and family business fields of research. The issue will hopefully provide evidence of the criteria on the basis of which technology strategy decisions are taken in family businesses, and the instruments and tools they apply to support decision making.
Suitable topics include but are not limited to:
- Timing. Do family firms compete by pioneering new technological areas, or do they tend to apply a second mover or late entrant strategy? Which criteria do family firms apply to make decisions regarding the timing of technology development and commercialisation?
- Technology exploitation. Which strategies do family firms employ to transform technologies into cash flows? Do they out-license technologies that are old or outside of their strategic interest? How do family firms access the complementary assets they lack?
- Radical new products and processes. Is family firms’ propensity toward radical new products and processes higher than non-family businesses’? Are family firms more successful in developing and commercialising radical new products than non-family companies?
- Intellectual Property (IP) management. How do family firms manage IP? Are they willing to use patents to protect their knowledge basis?
- Technology foresight, evaluation and planning. What methods for technology evaluation and planning do family firms apply? Are there significant differences in comparison with the tools applied by non-family companies? Are family firms more risk-averse than comparable non-family businesses when it comes to evaluating their technology portfolio?
Submission deadline: 31 March, 2012
1st round review: 31 May, 2012
Revisions due: 31 July, 2012
Final acceptance: 15 October, 2012