Synthetic fibre technology and company strategy

K.F. Mulder*, P.J. Vergragt

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The authors' aim is to examine the socioeconomic setting in which the modern technologies of synthetic fibre manufacture emerged. Their specially developed methodology consists in analysing the emergence at three hierarchical levels of analysis — at the ‘macro’ level, tracing the dominant line of development, the so-called technological trajectory; at the ‘meso’ level, characterizing the industry environment (the main focus of the paper); and at the ‘micro’ level within which each company's development strategy is formulated and implemented.

    The paper contains a brief history of the development of the technology of synthetic fibre production. The long-term macro trajectory, pursued by the participant firms in significantly different ways, was towards making a polyamide polymer by solution condensation and spinning it into fibres by existing technology, the aim of each firm being to produce its own high performance fibre selling into a premium market. The paper describes how a number of leading firms chose their particular routes to a marketable product. The motivations varied considerably depending, for example, on legal and patent factors, previous technological choices made by the firm, the need to defend an existing core business, and identification of an empty market niche.

    In spite of the general similarity of the outcomes of the technological development the authors hold that the industry is still far from standardization, a situation they explain in terms of a model of standardization put forward by Reddy and colleagues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-256
    Number of pages10
    JournalR & D Management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-1990

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