Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This thesis investigates the adoption of process standards and consists of an introduction, a literature review, two theoretical chapters, a case study, and a conclusion.;The first theoretical chapter presents a model which examines equilibrium adoption patterns. The model incorporates heterogeneous agents who repeatedly choose which process standard to adopt. The agents' decisions are affected by economic processes within as well as outside, the market. In contrast to the usual results of the literature on competing standards, inefficient equilibria are far less prevalent in this model. Interestingly, small changes in parameter values can have a large impact on the characteristics of the resulting equilibria in this type of model.;Chapter four extends the model developed in the previous chapter by adding second country (or equivalently, industry). This chapter investigates the impact that adoption decisions in one country have on other countries under different levels of economic integration. It also investigates the effects that multinationals have on adoption patterns. The model predicts that adoption patterns will, in general, differ between countries when there are only local positive externalities. It also predicts that higher levels of integration between economies will increase adoption of generic standards (standards that can apply to firms in any industry or country), if the positive externalities associated with adopting it are global. The presence of multinationals increases the adoption of generic standards, as the multinationals act to economise on their adoption costs. Surprisingly, increases in the proportion of the population that are multinationals can reduce adoption of the generic standard for some ranges of parameter values.;Chapter 5 presents a case study of the adoption of process standards in the United States software industry. The theoretical results derived in Chapters 3 and 4 are used to explain the adoption patterns of software process standards. One finding of the case study is that the "chaos" and apparent redundancy of the many process standards co-existing in this industry serves a useful purpose. Furthermore, generic standards, such as ISO 9000, are unlikely to lead to substantial benefits from increased standardisation.



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