The fundamental question of this study is why firms become different as they grow. To answer this question, this study focuses on high-technology young firms in a specific industry which is fast growing and turbulent, or telecommunications industry, and strives to find the causes of firm's growth.
The most important resources for the growth of firms are said to be the knowledge-based resources because of characteristics such as expansiveness, accumulation, and the sharing. So, this study analyzes technological knowledge, market knowledge, and development process knowledge accumulated in platform product development activities through the history of product development of each firm. After that, I analyzed total products (n=50) of five firms to find the relationships between the search method, learning types, and performance of each product.
The major findings of this study are as follows.
1)The path of knowledge accumulation caused by search method of knowledge of each firm is firm-specific and each firm has a distinctive learning orientation. 2) The exploration of technological knowledge in telecommunications industry enables young firms to grow fast. 3) The excessive exploration of either knowledge-technological knowledge, market knowledge- slows the growth of young firms. 4) The firms which have basic technological knowledge and understand fundamental principle in their serving industry are more explorative by enhanced related absorptive capacity and the probability of success of exploration is high. So the rate of growth of these firms are high. 5) The first product after starting-up the firm is based on the knowledge or the experience of members of the founding team. 6) The technological search method affects the type of technological learning. In more detail terms, technological exploration of knowledge relates to external learning of technological knowledge and technological exploitation of knowledge relates to internal learning of technological knowledge. 7) The search method of market knowledge also affects the type of technological learning. The exploration of market knowledge relates to external learning of technological knowledge and the exploitation of market knowledge relates to internal learning of technological knowledge. 8) Technological learning type affects the technological performance of a product. External learning relates to high technological performance. 9) Development process knowledge becomes more complex and related departments in developing activities become strongly coupled as a firm grows.
At the end of this study, I propose a model that explains the relationship between the search method, technological learning type, and the performance of a product.