Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Life Cycles, Trajectories and Clusters

Kamarulzaman Ab. Aziz.

Lifecycle model has been used to help explain and understand better various aspects in the management field. From product, project, and industry lifecycles to technology and innovation lifecycles, the model is a key application even in specialised area such as environmental management where the Lifecycle Assessment method is used.
The lifecycle model certainly enables researchers to get a better understanding of the innovation process; “.. the life-cycle concept is still among the best metaphors for the innovation process.” [Ettlie, 2000] and how technologies develop. However, it does not highlight the complex and often erratic/chaotic nature of the processes. There are actually more than one factors that shape these processes and the lifecycle model do not highlight the various factors that influence the development of a new technology or the successful conversion of an invention into an innovation. Furthermore, at the various stages of the processes there may be more than one outcomes or solutions produced and normally organisations will choose to follow up a selection of the options produced before coming to the ultimate technology or innovation. Thus, when studying these processes, mapping out the various stages, inputs, outputs and off-shoots that make up an entire process, it then can be concluded that not only such processes go through lifecycles but the paths to the final results are shaped by trajectories of main design, failed options and secondary off-shoots. Michael Porter (1998) highlighted that “In a global economy - which boasts rapid transportation, high speed communications and accessible markets - one would expect location to diminish in importance. But the opposite is true. The enduring competitive advantages in a global economy are often heavily localised, arising from concentrations of highly specialised skills and knowledge, institutions, rivalry, related businesses, and sophisticated customers.” The trend was also observed by Dunning (1997) where he proposed that firms relational pattern has entered a new paradigm of closer “hands-on” alliance and network relationships. This is largely to achieve and sustain competitive advantages where trust, forbearance and mutual commitment play significant roles in ensuring the success of the relationships and links built. This herald back to Marshall’s (1890) discussion on “… concentration of specialized industries in particular localities.” The recent discussions of the subject use the term “cluster” to explain the industrial concentrations which have significant impact on the economy and wide recognition as a key strategic option for both industries and governments.
The numerous studies and research highlights the importance of cluster both at firm level and at regional or (in some cases like Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor) national level. This paper proposed to highlight that applying to the cluster concept the combination of the lifecycles and trajectories concepts will provide more effective studies and analysis of clusters.


Kamarulzaman Ab. Aziz  (Malaysia)

Multimedia University

  • Cluster
  • life cycle
  • trajectory
  • knowledge economy

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)