Technological discontinuities and incumbents’ sourcing strategy: the case of electric batteries in the automotive industry

Scientific Coordinator: Anna Cabigiosu


This study aims at increasing our understanding of how carmakers managed their sourcing strategy during this cycle of technological discontinuity (Anderson and Tushman, 1990). In this respect, we mainly focus on incumbents’ open innovation search strategy analyzing the breadth of their search strategy (Laursen and Salter, 2006) and how they managed and control external relationships (Dyer and Singh, 1998; Paulraj and Chen, 2007; Parmigiani, 2007). This study explores how the main carmakers, which invested so far in EVs, managed their sourcing strategy in this setting. Preliminary results suggest that carmakers followed a sourcing strategy characterized by an inversed u-shaped breath of suppliers base and that this u-shaped breath is correlated to the batteries’ technology life-cycle. Finally, all carmakers gradually increased their control over batteries technology by moving from market to hierarchy.

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