• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book analyzes a range of social contexts in which human decisions shape technology in the market economy. It comprises a critical review of both a select research literature and in-depth historical studies. Material is drawn from many social science disciplines to inform the reader of the reality of taking decisions on innovation.

Patterns in Technological Development and the Creation of Technological Standards
Patterns in technological development and the creation of technological standards
Paths of Development, Increasing Returns to Scale and Dominant Designs

When a long time span of technology development is reviewed it reveals what appears to be a significant pattern in that development. The micro political and social processes that were the subject of the last chapter disappear and it is the more durable pattern created by a succession of artefact changes that is visible.

The basic pattern is exemplified by the complex assembled product technologies of the aircraft and car industries. In these, a period of design experimentation and great design variability characterised the beginning of both industries, but this was followed by a reduction in design variety ...

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