Strategic Networking in Standard Setting Organizations: The Case of JEDEC
This paper examines the strategic impact of networking within a cooperative standard-setting body. The JEDEC JC-42 committee sets standards for memory technologies, and was especially focused on DRAM standards in the early 1990s. I utilize cross-sectional and panel data to analyze whether internal networking helped firms to exert an influence on the development of formal standards for memory technology in general and DRAM technology in particular. Cross-sectional and panel results tentatively suggest that networking within JEDEC, in terms of attendance at different subcommittee meetings, contributed to firm influence on standards development. A somewhat surprising result, given industry-wide concern about DRAM standards, is that non-DRAM-related networking and standard setting activity proved more important for overall standards development success. In addition, coefficients on variables measuring intellectual property holdings suggest that IP portfolio tends to hurt firms in the standard setting process. Interpretation of results should bear in mind small sample size and limited panel variation, which may yield inconsistent estimators of coefficients. Moreover, although I emphasize results in random effects models because they reflect more observations, fixed effects may be more appropriate given that firm-level characteristics underlie fixed and random effects. In conclusion, cross-sectional and panel analyses tentatively suggest that internal networking contributed to firm influence on standards development within the JEDEC JC-42 committee in the early 1990s. But further study using a richer dataset and accounting for institutional anomalies could improve our understanding of the strategic value of networking, both within and outside JEDEC, in the effort to develop next-generation DRAM standards.
dissertation or thesis