Definitions and Classifications – 3

Grubler and Nakicenovic are amongst those who prefer the concept of technology diffusion to that of technology transfer. For most of the people in this group, diffusion represents a process of technological change brought about by dispersed and uncoordinated decisions over time. Still others see technology transfer as a two-way learning process that might more appropriately be called “Technology Communication”. Most of the technology transfer today at the international level actually takes place between one industrialized country and another.

Technology transfer is a process that permits the flow of technology from a source to a receiver. The source in this case is the owner of holder of the knowledge, while the recipient is the beneficiary of such knowledge.  The source could be an individual, a company, or a country. Jain and Triandis define technology transfer as a “process by which science and technology are transferred from one individual or group to another that incorporates this new knowledge into its way of doing things”. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration defines it as “the process of providing the technology developed for one organizational purpose to other organizations for other potentially useful purposes”.

Technology transfer can be divided into the following categories:

  • International technology transfer
  • Regional technology transfer
  • Cross-industry or cross-sector technology transfer
  • Interfirm technology transfer
  • Intrafirm technology transfer

We will discuss descriptively on each category in our next post.


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