This paper studies the process of development of new technologies in established multitechnology industries. More specifically, with the help of the concepts of path dependency and path generation, the paper addresses how the process of formation and early development of new technologies is influenced by previously established path dependent dynamics. Empirically, the paper is based on a case study of the lighting industry where two new technological paths (compact fluorescent lamps and light-emitting diodes) were developed under conditions of dominance of the incandescent technology.
As a result, three types of influence from path dependency on the process of path generation are revealed: the dominant technology can impose barriers (negative influence), shape (neutral influence) and enable (positive influence) development of new technologies. Thus, the paper shows that previously prevailing understanding of this influence as solely negative was incomplete, and contributes to a better understanding of endogenous change sources in path dependent industries.