, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 97–118 | Cite as

Analysing the theoretical roots of technology emergence: an evolutionary perspective

  • Serhat BurmaogluEmail author
  • Olivier Sartenaer
  • Alan Porter
  • Munan Li


There has been much research concerning emergence in technology, ever since knowledge has been accepted as a prime engine of economic growth. However, even though there are a growing number of publications, the concept remains ambiguous. In this study, we aim to trace emergence discussions to find the evolution of related concepts, in order to explore usage in the technological context. To achieve this, the philosophy of science, complexity, and economic literatures are reviewed in accordance with the emergence concept qualitatively. Then, a bibliometrics study is performed to strengthen the qualitative argument and find evidence of emergence in technology studies for comparison. Based on the findings, we can assert that the definition of technology emergence needs to be revised with consideration of its theoretical foundations. Moreover, after discussion, research questions are posed for future research.


Emergence Technology emergence Emerging technology Evolution Conceptual evolution 



Funding was provided by Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (Grant No. 1759960), TUBITAK (Grant No. 2219/2) and Izmir Katip Celebi Universitesi BAP (Grant No. 2018-ODL-IIBF-0015). Olivier Sartenaer gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Administrative SciencesIzmir Katip Celebi UniversityIzmirTurkey
  2. 2.School of Public Policy, STIPGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Philosophisches SeminarUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  4. 4.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Search TechnologyNorcrossUSA
  6. 6.School of Business AdministrationSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina

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