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Market‐pull and technology‐push in manufacturing start‐ups in emerging industries

Sarah Lubik (Centre for Strategy and Performance, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Sirirat Lim (Centre for Strategy and Performance, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Ken Platts (Centre for Strategy and Performance, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Tim Minshall (Centre for Technology Management, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 1 January 2013

Abstract

Purpose

As traditional manufacturing, previously vital to the UK economy, is increasingly outsourced to lower‐cost locations, policy makers seek leadership in emerging industries by encouraging innovative start‐up firms to pursue competitive opportunities. Emerging industries can either be those where a technology exists but the corresponding downstream value chain is unclear, or a new technology may subvert the existing value chain to satisfy existing customer needs. Hence, this area shows evidence of both technology‐push and market‐pull forces. The purpose of this paper is to focus on market‐pull and technology‐push orientations in manufacturing ventures, specifically examining how and why this orientation shifts during the firm's formative years.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study approach of 25 UK start‐ups in emerging industries is used to examine this seldom explored area. The authors offer two models of dynamic business‐orientation in start‐ups and explain the common reasons for shifts in orientation and why these two orientations do not generally co‐exist during early firm development.

Findings

Separate evolution paths were found for strategic orientation in manufacturing start‐ups and separate reasons for them to shift in their early development. Technology‐push start‐ups often changed to a market‐pull orientation because of new partners, new market information or shift in management priorities. In contrast, many of the start‐ups beginning with a market‐pull orientation shifted to a technology‐push orientation because early market experiences necessitated a focus on improving processes in order to increase productivity or meet partner specifications, or meet a demand for complementary products.

Originality/value

While a significant body of work exists regarding manufacturing strategy in established firms, little work has been found that investigates how manufacturing strategy emerges in start‐up companies, particularly those in emerging industries.

Keywords

Citation

Lubik, S., Lim, S., Platts, K. and Minshall, T. (2013), "Market‐pull and technology‐push in manufacturing start‐ups in emerging industries", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 10-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410381311287463

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited