Multiple working hypotheses for technology analysis
Abstract. Technology analysis focuses on technology that is a complex system formed by different elements given by incremental and radical innovations to satisfy needs, achieve goals and/or solve problems of users to take advantage of important opportunities or to cope with consequential environmental threats. This study suggests a methods of inquiry, called multiple working hypotheses (MWHs), for technology analysis that consider the development, prior to research, of different hypotheses concerning the origin and evolution of technology, which are likely due to several causes, not just one. The MWHs presented here are categorized in traditional hypotheses, such as demand for technology hypothesis, Induced-innovation hypothesis, learning by doing hypothesis, learning via diffusion hypothesis, specialization via scale hypothesis, disadvantage of beginning hypothesis, path-dependence hypothesis, competitive substitution hypothesis, predator-prey hypothesis, and modern hypotheses such as killer technology hypothesis, parasite technologies hypothesis. Scholars of technology studies should consider all suggested hypotheses for technology analysis, also considering the possibility that none of them are correct and that some new explanations may emerge in more and more complex and turbulent environment.
Keywords. Technology, Technological innovation, Technology analysis, Induced innovation, Learning by doing, Technological evolution, Nature of technology, Path dependence, Technological change, Technological progress, Technological parasitism, Technological advances, Killer technology, Evolution of technology, Multiple working hypotheses.JEL. O30, O31, O33.
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