Identifying the Effective Mechanisms of Higher-order Capabilities for Creating/Enhancing Technological Capabilities of the Latecomer Firm in the Catch-up Path: A Case Study in an Iranian Automobile Firm

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Science and Technology Policy, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Faculty Member, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 . Faculty Member, Faculty of Management and Economy, University of Tarbiat Modarres, Tehran, Iran.


Latecomer firms have a significant technological gap with their international competitors. To fill this technological gap, these companies have to follow the path of technological catch-up. For technological catch-up, the latecomer firm needs to acquire new capabilities or upgrade its existing capabilities in each of the of the catch-up steps. Existing research background introduces higher-order/ dynamic capabilities as a factor in creating or upgrading firm capabilities in 4 steps: 1. Sensing, 2. Learning, 3. Integrating, 4. Coordinating. At each stage, several mechanisms must be used that have been neglected in previous research. This study intends to identify these mechanisms by separating the steps for the path from the level of duplicative imitation to the level of creative imitation through a case study in the country's automobile industry (in Iran Khodro). For this purpose, semi-structured interview tools and theme analysis methods were used, and 11 technological capabilities and 20 mechanisms for capability development were extracted. Among them, 4 mechanisms were in sensing stage, 8 mechanisms were in learning stage, 3 mechanisms were in Integrating stage and 5 mechanisms were in Coordinating stage. The final results were drawn as a conceptual model and approved by a panel of experts.


Main Subjects

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Volume 9, Issue 2
(Special issue for technological catch-up)
September 2021
Pages 91-128
  • Receive Date: 22 January 2021
  • Revise Date: 28 August 2021
  • Accept Date: 10 September 2021