Strategic responses to low-cost competition: Technological lock-in in the Dundee jute industry

Swapnesh Masrani, Peter McKiernan, Alan McKinlay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines path dependency and technological lock-in in the evolution of the Dundee jute industry, from its beginnings in the 1860s to its demise in the 1970s. The evolution of the industry is explored using the resource-based view of the firm (RBV). The results suggest that the nature and construct of jute fibre was the root cause of a lack of sustainable strategic responses in the sector. Path dependent decisions and technological lock-in meant that many firms were not able to make successful strategic switches, although the capabilities of their engineering skills allowed some firms to endure for longer. Thus, the article extends the RBV to a deeper firm capability level and complements cognate literature on the UK textile sector with a finer specification of the phases in jute’s evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-981
Number of pages22
JournalBusiness History
Issue number6
Early online date30 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2020


  • Dundee jute industry
  • innovation
  • lock-in
  • path dependency
  • resource-based view
  • strategic change
  • strategic response
  • technological change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History


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