Abstract for: Blocking and Bridging: When Do Intergenerational Hybrids Help and Hinder Technological Transitions?
Intergenerational hybrids have traditionally been viewed as evidence of organizational inertia, resulting from the firmís inability to adapt sufficiently from its existing capabilities and architectural knowledge, resisting the technological transition. Recently, hybrids have been reinterpreted more positively as a tool that firms may use to learn about, and prosper in, an uncertain technological future. In this paper we seek to resolve these conflicting perspectives, establishing under what conditions under these hybrid blocking and bridging strategies may be successful. We find that early introduction of the hybrid is essential to both strategies, as is the selection of the appropriate hybrid positioning between the existing and new technology, which itself is contingent on the rates of learning spillovers that occur within- and between- firms. Practical challenges in the effective implementation of these strategies, or even knowing what the conditions that maximize success are, may explain why the successful use of hybrid technology strategies has not been widely observed in practice.