Implications for Economic Policy
Edited by John Finch and Magali Orillard
Chapter 11: The Codification of Technological Knowledge, Technological Complexity, and the Division of Innovative Labour: A Case from the Semiconductor Industry in the 1990s
11. The codification of technological knowledge, technological complexity, and the division of innovative labour: a case from the semiconductor industry in the 1990s Norio Tokumaru 1. INTRODUCTION The aim of this chapter is to determine how the two main trends of recent technological change, codiﬁcation of technological knowledge and increasing complexity of technological knowledge, interact with each other and then how they affect the organization of innovative activity. In innovation studies, it has been argued that important technological knowledge is in large part tacit and context-dependent, which makes it difﬁcult to transmit that knowledge among different organizations. Therefore it is necessary to organize the innovative activities either in-house or among organizations in a long-term relationship in order to exchange technological information expediently. This reasoning is captured schematically in the ‘chain-linked model’ by Kline and Rosenberg (1986). Recently it has often been argued that, because the technological knowledge is more and more codiﬁed and more easily transmitted by ICT, the long-term relationship is becoming obsolete as an organizational form of innovative activity (Arora and Gambardella 1994; Balconi 2002). Aoki (2002) has even argued that this is one of the causes of a decline in Japanese competitiveness. In contrast, US industrial organization, which is typically understood as the ‘Silicon Valley model’, is argued to be well suited to beneﬁt from the development of ICT. High mobility of human resources and monetary resources at least partly explains the resurgence of the US semiconductor industry in the 1990s (Langlois and...
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