Throughout the past decade, the phenomenon of technological convergence has increasingly gained managerial attention. In particular, the phenomenon can be regarded as a special form of technological change, where the coming-together of previously distinct knowledge bases gives rise to the creation of new applications and business models. Since the resulting creative destruction may exceed previously established industry boundaries, as a consequence, convergence does not only promise the creation of new value, but may imply significant disruptions to established industries. Driven by a managerial need for understanding convergence from an innovation management perspective, as well as by contradictive perceptions in previous research, this paper introduces an evolutionary perspective on the phenomenon. The study is based on an inductive and embedded multiple-case approach, involving 26 firms in the information and communications industry sectors. Four different stages of a convergence process are identified, described and formalised: (1) knowledge convergence, (2) technological convergence, (3) applicational convergence and (4) industrial convergence.
Keywords: convergence, evolutionary economics, innovation, stage model