Transferring Technology to Municipal Markets: Marketing's New Frontier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




David L. Wilemon


Marketing, Fire, Police, Public services, Strategic planning, Firm size

Subject Categories



This thesis explores selected dimensions of the municipal technology transfer process within the two urban markets of fire and police protection. The technology transfer process represents the very essence by which firms utilize their capacity to make technology available to cities for use in supplying various public services. Cities are finding it more difficult to support these services without noticeable improvement in productivity.

The intent of this research is to: (1) provide a profile of market characteristics within the fire and police markets; (2) compare the technology transfer roles firms perform within these two markets; and (3) extrapolate hypotheses from data which helps explain the factors making up the urban technology transfer process.

Traditionally, public regulation has attempted to convert public goals into private interest. This regulation, instituted by social activists and coordinated by federal mission agencies, has often proven unsuccessful in effectuating technology transfer. Alternatively, industry ability and/or desire to transfer products to cities is thwarted by a variety of inhibitors including government intervention.

This research discovered that the present status of urban technology transfer was affected by: (1) a low level of strategic planning by firms; (2) the limited long term capital available to many firms; (3) undercapacity in many product categories; and (4) the size of firms servicing urban markets. Firm size was an important indicator distinguishing marketing strategy. Smaller, more traditional firms rely more upon conventional methods to market their customized equipment. However, large, new firms use superior marketing techniques to "invade" these once stable markets. These invader firms promote the cost efficiency of their standardized equipment.

In addition, this research suggests implications for industry, government, cities, and marketing theorists aimed at building industrial capacity for appropriate urban technology transfer.


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