Henderson & Clerk 1990 Review

Topics: Innovation, Technology, Joseph Schumpeter Pages: 3 (603 words) Published: October 11, 2014
Individual Paper Review
In this paper, Henderson and Clark (1990) critics that conventional categorization of innovation as either incremental or radical is inadequate and ambiguous, as it does not take into consideration of little enhancements in technological products that may cause ruinous outcomes on industry incumbents. There is increasing proves that indicate several technical innovations that embroils meek changes to the existing technology but have led in intense competitions (Clark, 1987). Hence, authors of this paper came up with new models to provide insights and explanations on how such minimal innovations can have a prodigious impact on incumbents.

The idea that there are various kinds of innovation, with varying competitive effects, has been an imperative theme in the studies on technological innovation since Schumpeter (1942). As such, Henderson and Clerk categorize innovation with regards to their impact on established competencies of the firms. It is depicted along two dimensions – component knowledge and architectural knowledge. Their framework includes two other types of innovations, namely modular and architectural innovation. The distinctions between radical, incremental, modular and architectural innovations are matters of its extents; which is essential as it gives us additional insights that which lacks in the conventional categorization of innovation.

In this paper, they focus mainly on architectural innovation, of which they define it as “innovations that change the way in which the components of a product are linked together, while leaving the core design concepts untouched”. In this type of innovation however, knowledge of how individual components interact with each other remains obsolete.

Henderson and Clark recognized that organizations that are embedded in existing architectural knowledge have higher chances to change when there is architectural innovation. Firms tend to resist such changes due to the high costs for...

References: Clark, Kim B. (1987) ‘Managing technology in international competition: The case of product development in response to foreign entry.’ Research Policy, 14:235-251
Henderson, R.M. and K.B. Clark (1990) ‘Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, pp. 9-30
Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1942) ‘Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy.’ Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
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