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Early-Stage Military Technology Innovation: A Network Analysis Open Access

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This dissertation examines early-stage military technology innovation in unmanned aerial vehicles using qualitative case study methods and quantitative social network analysis methods. Five hypotheses about early-stage military technology innovation are drawn from three complementary bodies of literature: military innovation, innovation theory, and social network analysis. Case studies of the Predator and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, respectively, examine instances of early-stage military technology innovation. Qualitative case study methods are informed by data from interviews and documentary evidence. Quantitative social network analytic methods are informed by data from interviews. Innovation networks are studied at the sub-network level of analysis. Network boundaries are defined based on the relevance of the sub-network in providing essential resources and meeting innovation challenges. These case studies are employed to test these five hypotheses and provide new insights into the emergence, form, and function of early-stage military technology innovation networks. This research indicates non-technological factors were most important in innovation network emergence and that not one but three innovation networks existed in both cases, each adapting to meet the challenges of three discernible phases of innovation. Network structure and function required to meet technological challenges were different from those required for non-technological challenges.

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