Technological Catch-up in Industries Based on Complex Systems, a Case Study of Iran's Petrochemical Industry

Document Type : Research Article (Original Article)


1 PhD candidate of Technology Management, Faculty of Management, Islamic Azad University South Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor, Faculty of Management and Industrial Engineering, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate professor, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

4 Associate Professor, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Islamic Azad University South Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran.


In complex product and systems development strategies, technological catch-up is one of the most important strategies to reduce the technological gap between latecomer countries and technology leaders, in which latecomer countries can reduce their distance from the leaders by imitation, leap and investment. In the last decade, this strategy has been considered by many researchers, but studies show that many of these experiments have failed due to the lack of attention to all the components that affect the technology ecosystem. Due to the complexity of the economic environment, uncertainties and environmental changes, the actions of the factors affecting the ecosystem are different and it is necessary to consider the effect of these factors on the catch-up process. The results of this study show that the occurrence of successful technological catch-up in complex products and systems, requires the development of technological capabilities, adaptation of governance policies at the national level and proper use of the country's comparative advantages. In this research, focusing on technological capabilities and reviewing the literature and field research, using the combined research method, the factors affecting technological catch-up have been identified, analyzed and prioritized. Findings show key factors including technical and infrastructural capabilities, global value chain integration, governance, technological regimes, social capital, accumulation of wealth and financial resources, physical resources and geographical, economic sanctions, market factors and components, and institutionalization ,they are effective in the occurrence of technological catch-up in the Iranian petrochemical industry.


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  • Receive Date: 14 September 2020
  • Revise Date: 06 March 2021
  • Accept Date: 06 March 2021
  • First Publish Date: 06 March 2021