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Robert Noyce and Fairchild Semiconductor, 1957–1968

  • Leslie R. Berlin (a1)
Abstract

Robert Noyce's career at Fairchild Semiconductor sheds light on several developments that were central to the growth of Silicon Valley and the semiconductor industry: entrepreneurship, technical leadership, and the management of growth in a high-technology company. Noyce served as Fairchild Semiconductors first head of R&D and as its general manager for the six years of the company's most dramatic growth. His technical orientation, personal interest in new technologies, and hands-off management style helped establish a culture at the firm that welcomed innovations in research, process technology, manufacturing, and marketing. As Fairchild Semiconductor grew into a multidivisional mass producer, Noyce's entrepreneurial leadership proved inadequate. Communication breakdowns between divisions, coupled with a series of poor decisions by the parent company, further contributed to the decline of Fairchild Semiconductor.

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Janice M. Beyer and Larry D. Browning , “Transforming an Industry in Crisis: Charisma, Routinization, and Supportive Cultural Leadership,” Leadership Quarterly 10 (Spring 1999): 483520.

The Role of Fairchild in Silicon Technology in the Early Days of ‘Silicon Valley,’” Proceedings of the IEEE 86 (Jan. 1998): 5362.

Harold C. Livesay , “Entrepreneurial Dominance in Businesses Large and Small, Past and Present,” Business History Review 63 (Spring 1989): 5.

Richard R. Nelson , “The Co-Evolution of Technology, Industrial Structure, and Supporting Institutions,” in Giovanni Dosi , David J. Teece , and Josef Chytry , eds., Technology, Organization, and Competitiveness: Perspectives on Industrial and Corfiorate Change (New York, 1998), 319–35

Margaret B. W. Graham , The Business of Research: RCA and the VideoDisc (Cambridge, U.K., 1986

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Business History Review
  • ISSN: 0007-6805
  • EISSN: 2044-768X
  • URL: /core/journals/business-history-review
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