Understanding the Dynamic Convergence Phenomenon from the Perspective of Diversity and Persistence: A Cross-Sector Comparative Analysis between the United States and South Korea

PLoS One. 2016 Jul 14;11(7):e0159249. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159249. eCollection 2016.


This study was designed to improve the explanation for the behavior of the phenomenon of technology convergence. The concepts and measurements of diversity and persistence, as inherent attributes of the phenomenon, were elaborated by reviewing different theories. Diversity was examined by analyzing the degree of capability to absorb heterogeneous technologies, while persistence was investigated by analyzing the degree of continuity in the usage of cumulated technologies. With these two dimensions, an analytic framework was proposed to compare the differences and dynamic patterns of convergence competence by countries at the technology sector level. Three major technology sectors in the United States and South Korea, namely, information and communication technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, were explored to explicitly illustrate the differences in technology convergence competence. The results show that although Korea has narrowed the differences of capabilities for technology convergence compared to the US, Korea not only has to continuously pursue the improvement of specialization for all three sectors, but also has to encourage the exploitation of different technology fields. The suggested framework and indicators allow for monitoring of the dynamic patterns of a technology sector and identifying the sources of the gaps. Thus, the framework and indicators are able to ensure the purpose of government innovation policy and to provide strategic directions for redistributing the proper combination of sources to accomplish technology convergence.

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Medical Informatics
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Patents as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Republic of Korea
  • Technology Transfer*
  • United States

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.