The theory of technological response and progress in chaos

Sercan Ozcan*, Ozcan Saritas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: This study aims to develop the first Theory of Technological Response and Progress in Chaos (TRPC) and examine the case of technological development during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research objectives of this study were to: identify the key technologies that act as a response mechanism during the chaos event, specifically in the case of COVID-19; examine how technologies evolve, develop and diffuse in an immediate crisis and a chaotic environment; theorise various types and periods of technological response and progress during the emergence of chaos and the stages that unfold; and develop policy-oriented recommendations and establish technological foundations to address subsequent chaos events. Design/methodology/approach: This study used the grounded theory as a methodology with a mixed-method approach that included quantitative and qualitative methods. The authors used the quantitative method to assist with the qualitative step to build the TRPC theory. Accordingly, this study integrated machine learning and text mining approaches to the qualitative data analysis following the steps of the grounded theory approach. Findings: As a result of the TRPC theory development process, the authors identified three types of technologies (survival, essential and enhancement technologies) and five types of periods (stable, initial, survival-dominant, essential-dominant and enhancement-dominant periods) that are specific to chaos-technology interactions. The policy implications of this study demonstrate that a required technological base and know-how must be established before a chaotic event emerges. Research limitations/implications: Concerning the limitations of this study, social media data has advantages over other data sources, such as the examination of dynamic areas and analyses of immediate responses to chaos. However, other researchers can examine publications and patent sources to augment the findings concerning scientific approaches and new inventions in relation to COVID-19 and other chaos-specific developments. The authors developed the TRPC theory by studying the COVID-19 pandemic, however, other researchers can utilise it to study other chaos-related conditions, such as chaotic events that are caused by natural disasters. Other scholars can investigate the technological response and progress pattern in other rapidly emerging chaotic events of an uncertain and complex nature to augment these findings. Practical implications: Following the indications of the OECD (2021a) and considering the study conducted by the European Parliamentary Research Service (Kritikos, 2020), the authors identified the key technologies that are significant for chaos and COVID-19 response using machine learning and text intelligence approach. Accordingly, the authors mapped all technological developments using clustering approaches, and examined the technological progress within the immediate chaos period using social media data. Social implications: The key policy implication of this study concerns the need for policymakers to develop policies that will help to establish the required technological base and know-how before chaos emerges. As a result, a rapid response can be implemented to mitigate the chaos and transform it into a competitive advantage. The authors also revealed that this recommendation overlaps with the model of dynamic capabilities in the literature (Teece and Pisano, 2003). Furthermore, this study recommends that nations and organisations establish a technological base that specifically includes technologies that bear 3A characteristics. These are the most crucial technologies for the survival- and essential-dominant stages. Moreover, the results of this study demonstrate that chaos accelerates technological progress through the rapid adoption and diffusion of technologies into different fields. Hence, nations and organisations should regard this rapid progress as an opportunity and establish the prior knowledge base and technologies before chaos emerges. Originality/value: The authors have contributed to the chaos studies and the relationship between chaos and technological development by establishing the first theoretical foundation using the grounded theory approach, hereafter referred to as the TRPC theory. As part of the TRPC theory, the authors present three periods of technological response in the following sequence: survival technology, essential technology and enhancement technology. Moreover, this study illustrates the evolving technological importance and priorities as the periods of technological progress proceed under rapidly developing chaos.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date21 Apr 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 21 Apr 2023


  • Chaos theory
  • COVID-19
  • Grounded theory
  • Technological response
  • Theory of technological response and progress in chaos

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