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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X

S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. vol.22 n.2 Pretoria  2011


A systems dynamics approach to competing technologies: Exploring uncertainty of interaction and market parameters



L. PretoriusI; S.J. BenadeII

IGraduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa,
IIGraduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa,




Technology can be identified as the result of an innovation process that may be time-dependent. Furthermore, technology is both an input to the innovation process and an output of it. When two competing technologies are diffused into the market, they are evaluated as a technology system by means of a systems dynamics approach. It is shown that systems thinking can be used initially to identify and assess the important factors that influence the competitive behaviour of the two technologies. Interesting dynamics of this technology management system are presented and discussed in the context of uncertainty of interaction between the two technologies. It is specifically shown that the life span of the existing technology, which resists competition, may be adversely affected under conditions of uncertainty. The effect of uncertainty in more than one systems dynamics model parameter - specifically, the interaction and market parameter in the competing technology system - is also addressed. The Lotka-Volterra approach of predator-prey interaction is used to model the interaction between and diffusion of the two technologies in the system. A qualitative assessment of the systems dynamics model without uncertainty is attempted in the exploration of a real case study of two competing technologies.


Tegnologie kan beskryf word as die resultaat van 'n innovasie proses wat tydsveranderlik kan wees. Tegnologie is beide 'n inset sowel as 'n uitset van die innovasie proses. 'n Geval waar twee kompeterende tegnologieë in die mark diffundeer word met behulp van sisteemdinamika geëvalueer as 'n tegnologiestelsel. Dit word aangetoon dat stelselsdenke gebruik kan word as voorloper om die belangrike faktore wat die kompeterende gedrag van die twee tegnologieë beïnvloed, te identifiseer en te assesseer. Interessante dinamiese gedrag van hierdie tegnologiebestuurstelsel word aangebied en bespreek in die konteks van onsekerheid van interaksie tussen die twee tegnologieë. Dit word spesifiek aangetoon dat die bestaande tegnologie wat weerstand bied teen kompetisie se lewenspan nadelig geraak kan word in onseker toestande. Die effek van onsekerheid van meer as een sisteem-dinamikamodelparameter, spesifiek die interaksie en markparameter, word ook aangespreek. Die Lotka-Volterra benadering gebaseer op die interaksie van aanval en verdediging word gebruik om die samehang tussen en diffusie van die twee tegnologieë in die stelsel te modelleer. Kwalitatiewe assessering van die sisteemdinamikamodel sonder parameteronsekerheid word ook aangespreek deur 'n werklike gevallestudie van twee kompeterende tegnologieë.



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