To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Multi-level drivers of catching up in complex product systems: an Iranian gas turbine producer

Mostafa Safdari Ranjbar (Department of Management and Accounting, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran)
Tae-Young Park (School of Business, Hanyang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Soroush Ghazinoori (Department of Management and Accounting, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran)
Manochehr Manteghi (College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 4 July 2019



This paper aims to investigate the pattern of technological capability building in the gas turbine industry as a complex product system (CoPS) in an Iranian gas turbine producer named Oil Turbo Compressor Company (OTC) and to recognize multi-level (firm, industry and national) drivers influencing technological catching up in this company.


This paper used a qualitative approach and case study research strategy. A preliminary theoretical framework is proposed based on research background. Also, the data were collected from various sources, including the interview with 11 experts, studying many documents and participating in some relevant meetings and conventions. To analyze the data, the authors relied on their preliminary theoretical framework and applied the chronological sequence analysis technique.


Our findings show that, first, in contrast with mass-produced industries where capability building pattern often leads to product innovation, technological capabilities in OTC have evolved from assembling to manufacturing, upgrading and finally redesigning of existing models of gas turbines. Second, two firm-level (proper technology acquisition strategies and building organizational and managerial capabilities), two industry-level (networking, integration and collaboration among key actors and existence of local market and demand) and two national-level (government’s policies, supports and initiatives and institutional arrangement and political conditions) drivers have played indispensable roles in facilitating and accelerating technological catching up by OTC.

Research limitations/implications

Inevitably, the current research faces a few limitations. For instance, the difficulty of generalization is considered an inherent problem because it is a case study of only one Iranian latecomer company, as well as only one CoPS industry. Regarding implications, the findings suggest that technological catching up in CoPS industries in developing countries is not a simple and autonomous process and is influenced by multi-level factors, including national-, industry- and firm-level drivers.


In terms of theory, this paper tends to investigate and explain the catching-up process in OTC as an Iranian gas turbine producer by applying a multi-level theoretical framework that consists of firm-, industry- and national-level drivers. In terms of practice, this paper aims at investigating drivers affecting the catching-up process in a CoPS industry in a developing country that was faced with vast international sanctions, while many other studies in this area examined cases from developing countries such as Korea and China that had the opportunity of enjoying international collaborations and overseas knowledge flows.



Safdari Ranjbar, M., Park, T.-Y., Ghazinoori, S. and Manteghi, M. (2019), "Multi-level drivers of catching up in complex product systems: an Iranian gas turbine producer", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 85-106.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited