Learning, Knowledge Transfer, and Technology Implementation Performance: A Study of Time-to-Build in the Global Semiconductor Industry

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1080.0866

Organizational growth and performance hinge upon the effective deployment of productive knowledge in new facilities. However, getting those facilities fully operational can be difficult and time consuming. Interestingly, we understand little about what determines the performance of that process. In this paper we help fill this gap by analyzing multiple determinants of time-to-build—i.e., the time it takes a firm to build and ramp up operations at a new manufacturing facility. Theoretically, we develop predictions regarding the effects of competitive, firm, and technology characteristics on time-to-build. Empirically, we test our predictions on a sample of plant construction projects in the memory segment of the global semiconductor industry. We find that competition from rivals with superior technology is associated with shorter time-to-build, at least up to a point. Firm and industry experience are associated with shorter time-to-build. International projects, and those that push the technological frontier, take longer. Findings from this study enrich the literatures on corporate growth, international expansion, and technology strategy. We discuss implications for research and practice.

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