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Keywords:

  • technological innovation;
  • industry evolution;
  • dominant designs;
  • managerial beliefs;
  • digital photography

Abstract

New industries sparked by technological change are characterized by high uncertainty. In this paper, we explore how a firm's conceptualization of products in this context, as reflected by product feature choices, is influenced by prior industry affiliation. We study digital cameras introduced from 1991–2006 by firms from three prior industries. We hypothesize and find that: (1) prior industry experience shapes a set of shared beliefs that results in similar and concurrent firm behavior; (2) firms notice and imitate the behaviors of firms from the same prior industry; and, (3) as firms gain experience with particular features, the influence of prior industry decreases. This study extends previous research on firm entry into new domains by examining heterogeneity in firms' framing and feature-level entry choices. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.