The Developmental Path of Technological Capabilities in the Latecomer Firms through the Catch-up Process: A Systematic Review of the Literature by the Meta-Synthesis Method

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty Member, Department of Management and Economics, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.

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

3 Ph.D., Department of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


The focus of this study is on how the technological capabilities of the latecomer firms accumulate in the catch-up process. Literature study suggests that no comprehensive and integrated model specifies the technological capabilities of each catch-up phase. Therefore, the present study aims to fill this research gap. The main contribution of this study is to identify the dedicated technological capabilities in each catch-up stage. By comparing and combining the current findings in the literature during the years 1980 to 2018 with the meta-synthesis method, the following question is investigated: "What are the technological capabilities at each phase of the catch-up process?" The main findings of this study include summarizing the technological capability definitions, introducing the main pillars of technological capability conceptualization, collecting various typologies of technological capability, comparing different phases of the catch-up process, extracting the hierarchical structure of technological capability, and assigning each technological capability to its dedicated phase.  Given the findings of this study and the specific contextual conditions of the firm, managers can customize this framework for improving technological capabilities. This firm-specific roadmap specifies which technological capabilities should be developed and upgraded at which time frame.


Main Subjects

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Volume 9, Issue 2
(Special issue for technological catch-up)
September 2021
Pages 129-162
  • Receive Date: 22 January 2020
  • Revise Date: 19 August 2020
  • Accept Date: 23 August 2021