The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector forms the backbone of the digital transformation and has undergone spectacular growth over the last decades. However, the ICT sector is increasingly characterized by “winner-takes-all markets” and quasi-monopolies that raise entry barriers and threaten the survival of small ICT businesses. At the same time, the sector’s future growth is increasingly questioned as key technological growth drivers may reach physical limits. Against this backdrop, this interdisciplinary research project aims at identifying the underlying mechanisms and drivers of growth in the ICT sector from a firm- and industry-level perspective. At the firm level, this project draws on qualitative case studies to advance the literature on firm growth by providing unique insights into the drivers of growth and the strategies firms use to survive in “winner-takes-all markets”. At the industry level, this project builds on patent and industry data analysis to generate a better understanding about how different technologies in the sector are linked and jointly shape industry dynamics. From the new insights gained, practical recommendations will be derived on how small firms can design competitive strategies in quasi-monopolistic markets, and how regulators can support digital late movers and develop early warning systems to prevent the emergence of monopolies.
The interdisciplinary research project is funded by VolkswagenStiftung and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture
Below please find an overview of completed milestones
“As I see it, growth or the goal of growth exists in every sector, from small and medium-sized enterprises to large companies. They all strive for growth.”
“Growth is extremely important, especially in Germany, where we are actually more of a developing country in terms of digital infrastructure.”
"Pitches [for funding] in this area are always very much geared towards growth. If you draw a sales curve for it, it's a hockey stick. It goes steeply uphill. Whether that's realistic or not, it almost doesn't matter at first. It has to look like that.”
“We are already seeing that the Googles and Facebooks of the world are very much in the public eye. And I don't just mean the public eye of civil society, but also the public eye of policy makers.”
The interdisciplinary team is composed of researchers with a background in management and computing science, who share an interest in understanding the drivers and mechanisms of growth in the ICT sector.
Research Associate Business Information Systems Group, University of Oldenburg