- 日本経営学会誌 (ISSN:18820271)
- vol.33, pp.61-72, 2014
In this study we will explore a case of innovation to examine the re-invention process. Re-invention is defined as modification by users of a technology during the diffusion process. Previous research on re-invention has had three problems: there was insufficient explanation of the reasons behind the modification of technology by users, innovation was researched independent of users, and it overlooked non-user agents and other structural/material factors that have an influence on the re-invention process. In order to overcome those problems, we will apply the social shaping of technology approach in case analysis. We will also examine the applicability of this approach within this area of research. We chose to analyze the case of smart card innovation (contactless IC cards used instead of railway tickets). This case study reveals the re-invention process during the diffusion of contactless IC card technology in which multiple users modify the technology and create different smart card systems. In the process of re-invention, important roles are played not only by user organizations, but also by other non-user agents such as railway passengers and local associations of transportation companies. In addition, those interactions of agents are constrained or enabled by structural factors including competitive structure, relevant laws and regulations, regional differences in temperament, as well as by material factors such as existing facilities in railway stations and whether there are dedicated machines for adding money to the smart cards. User organizations re-invent contactless IC card technology through the interactions of those factors. Therefore, innovation does not diffuse in only direction, but is reciprocal among organizations. This case study shows that, in the process of re-invention, innovation shapes users and that users also shape innovation based on interactions among various agents and structural/material factors. Such idiosyncratic interactions create the variations in technological systems during the diffusion process. Additionally, our study will demonstrate the applicability of the social shaping of technology approach to analysis of the re-invention process.