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Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management by Gina Colarelli O'Connor, V. K. Narayanan

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Chapter 19. Technology Strategy

Steven W. Floyd and Carola Wolf

University of St. Gallen

Technology strategy represents managers' efforts to think systematically about the role of technology in decisions affecting the long-term success of the organization. This involves deciding issues such as what technologies are strategically important, how to position the firm relative to technology development, and how much to spend in research and development, among others. Table 19.1 groups these and other questions into those related to formulating technology strategy and those associated with implementing it. Though they oversimplify the complexity of any particular company's technology strategy, these questions provide a useful framework for organizing the discussion in this chapter.

Formulating technology strategy

Core technologies

To a strategist, "technology" is usually meant in the broadest possible terms—knowledge of how to do things and how to accomplish human goals (Simon, 1973). The first issue that arises in formulating a technology strategy therefore is narrowing the scope. Of all the technologies that are relevant to an organization, which technologies should be the focus of strategy? Classical organizational theory distinguishes between technologies deployed in the "technical core"—the units where the product or service is produced—and technologies used in support tasks (Jelinek, 1977). To increase efficiency, intervening technologies and elaborated structures are designed to protect ...

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