About WTS Prof. Clair Brown Faculty, Students and Affiliates Research Areas Online Research Reports Working Papers

THE COMPETITIVE SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING HUMAN RESOURCES PROJECT:

Second Interim Report
CSM-32
Clair Brown, Editor

10. How does Knowledge Flow? Inter-Firm Patterns in the Semiconductor Industry
Melissa M. Appleyard

10.6 Summary and Conclusions

Knowledge propels growth—the growth of a country, industry, or company. In the semiconductor industry, the augmentation of knowledge occurs at such a rapid pace that its management becomes a key competitive variable. In fact, the vitality of regions where semiconductor firms are clustered, such as California's Silicon Valley, rely on the inter-firm connections built on private channels of communication (Saxenian, 1994). Successful knowledge management hinges on optimal cross-company sharing dictated by net benefit calculations.

The survey data presented in this paper show that public sources of technical information play a larger role in knowledge diffusion in Japan relative to the U.S. and in the semiconductor industry relative to the steel industry. Important knowledge-sharing vehicles in the semiconductor industry differ in terms of the intensity of human interaction. For example, the use of trade journals can be characterized by a low intensity of interaction relative to face-to-face meetings. These findings suggest that an effective system of knowledge management would endow employees with the appropriate tools to seek and absorb knowledge from outside of the company's boundaries.

Not only is it important for firms to understand knowledge flows for optimal knowledge management strategies, but policy makers should also consider knowledge-sharing patterns before introducing new institutions that may disrupt them. For example, the creation of a national consortium may strengthen some lines of communication but weaken others. Engineers who work for consortium members may talk face-to-face more frequently than they did prior to the consortium's formation, thus strengthening their private channels of communication. However, members of the consortium may choose to publish research findings in reports circulated only among consortium members, instead of trade journals that circulate more widely, thus restricting knowledge diffusion. Policy makers must calculate the implications for economic growth when considering policies that enhance and/or inhibit existing knowledge-sharing patterns.

End of Chapter 10

Go to Chapter 11
Go to References for this Chapter
Go to Table of Contents for this Chapter
Go to Table of Contents for the CSM-HR Interim Report

References

Allen, Robert C. "Collective Invention." Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. 4 (1983) 1-24.

Allen, Thomas J., Diane B. Hyman and David L. Pinckney. "Transferring Technology to the Small Manufacturing Firm: A Study of Technology Transfer in Three Countries." Research Policy. 12 (1983) 199-211.

Almeida, Paul and Bruce Kogut. "Technology and Geography: The Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Patent Holders." Working Paper, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, November 1994.

Appleyard, Melissa M., Nile W. Hatch, David C. Mowery. "Managing the Development and Transfer of New Manufacturing Processes in the Global Semiconductor Industry." Working Paper, UC Berkeley, 1996.

Arora, Ashish. "Licensing Tacit Knowledge: Intellectual Property Rights and the Market for Know-How." Economics of Innovation and New Technology. 4 (1995) 41-59.

Carter, Anne P. "Knowhow Trading as Economic Exchange." Research Policy. 18 (1989) 155-163.

Darnay, Arsen J. (ed.). Manufacturing U.S.A. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993.

The Economist. "Japanese semiconductors: Flat as a pancake." (May 4, 1996) 66.

Helfand, Michael Todd. "How Valid are U.S. Criticisms of the Japanese Patent System?" Working Paper, Stanford University, 1991.

Hicks, Diana. "Published Papers, Tacit Competencies and Corporate Management of the Public/Private Character of Knowledge." Industrial and Corporate Change. 4 (1995) 401-424.

Kato, Hiroki and Joan Kato. Understanding and Working with the Japanese Business World. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1992.

Katz Michael L. and Janusz A. Ordover. "R&D Cooperation and Competition." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. (1990) 137-203.

Kogut, Bruce and Dong-Jae Kim. "Strategic Alliances of Semiconductor Firms." Working Paper, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, January 1991.

Levin, Richard C., Alvin K. Klevorick, Richard R. Nelson, and Sidney G. Winter. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. 3 (1987) 783-831.

Lynn, Leonard H., Henry R. Piehler, and Mark Kieler. "Engineering Careers, Job Rotation, and Gatekeepers in Japan and the United States." Journal of Engineering and Technology Management. 10 (1993) 53-72.

Macaulay, Stewart. "Non-Contractual Relations in Business: a Preliminary Study." American Sociological Review. 1963.

Machlup, Fritz. The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962.

National Research Council. U.S.-Japan Strategic Alliances in the Semiconductor Industry: Technology Transfer, Competition, and Public Policy. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1992.

Nishi, Yoshio and Hisashi Kobayashi. "A Comparison Between Japanese and American Technology Management Practices," in Robert S. Cutler, ed., Technology Management in Japan. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, Inc., 1993.

Okimoto, Daniel and Yoshio Nishi. "R&D Organization in Japanese and American Semiconductor Firms," in Masahiko Aoki and Ronald Dore, eds., The Japanese Firm. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Riordan, Teresa. "U.S., Japan In Accord On Patents." The New York Times. (August 17, 1994) C1-2.

Rogers, Everett M. "Information Exchange and Technological Innovation." In Devendra Sahal, ed., The Transfer and Utilization of Technical Knowledge. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, D.C. Heath and Company, 1982.

Saxenian, AnnaLee. Regional Advantage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Schrader, Stephan. "Informal technology transfer between firms: Cooperation through information trading." Research Policy. 20 (1991) 153-170.

Semiconductor Industry Association. 1995 Annual Databook. San Jose, CA: Semiconductor Industry Association, 1995.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Industrial Patent Activity in the U.S.. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1993.

von Hippel, Eric. The Sources of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Watson, Joel. "Building a Relationship." Manuscript, UC San Diego, 1996.

Westney, D. Eleanor. "The Evolution of Japan's Industrial Research and Development," in Masahiko Aoki and Ronald Dore, eds., The Japanese Firm. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Zander, Udo. Exploiting A Technological Edge—Voluntary and Involuntary Dissemination of Technology. Stockholm: Institute of International Business, 1991.

Go to Chapter 11
Go to Table of Contents for this Chapter
Go to Table of Contents for the CSM-HR Interim Report

 IRLE HOME
 LIBRARY
 PROGRAMS
 
© 2005 Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. 
2521 Channing Way # 5555 
Berkeley, CA 94720-5555