Korea's rapid industrialization may be attributed to many
economic, social, and technical factors. The most important of all
may be absorptive capability, which is a combined outcome of
various economic, social and technical inputs, Absorptive
capability enables on the assimilate, use, adapt, and change
existing technologies. It also enables on the create new
technologies and to develop new products and processes in
response to changing economic environment. Absorptive
capability also includes capacity to acquire, adapt and internalize
managerial know-how. This element of absorptive capability is
not explicitly covered in this paper. The economic development
of a country is, in fact, the sum of productions by organizations
and individuals. Since organizations, particularly firms, play a
major role in industrialization, this paper deals primarily with
organizational absorptive capability and its relationship with both
external and internal elements.
This paper first presents, albeit brief, a conceptual
framework that depicts the process associated with the
acquisition of absorptive capability at the organizational level.
Then, using the framework as an analytical tool, it will analyze
Korea's past progress and its current problems/future prospects
in industrialization. Finally, it attempts to draw implications for
other developing countries.