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A Systematic Review of the Debate and the Researchers of Disruptive Innovation


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Despite the popularity of the term “disruptive innovation”, its applications have taken on different meanings. Clayton Christensen is a prominent author in the field but his approach has not been applied in a consistent manner. To elucidate the use of the term in business studies, this paper employs a bibliometric approach to provide a descriptive analysis of researchers and their relevant works in the network formed by the related literature, in addition to distinguishing and grouping associated authors. The results suggest a dissimilarity of objectives between two subgroups using the term “disruptive innovation”, and the discussion about Clayton Christensen’s specific meaning of the term seems to make sense to only one of them.
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J. Technol. Manag. Innov. 2019. Volume 14, Issue 1
ISSN: 0718-2724. (
Journal of Technology Management & Innovation © Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Facultad de Economía y Negocios. 73
A Systematic Review of the Debate and the Researchers of Disruptive Innovation
Carlos Tadao Kawamoto1* and Renata Giovinazzo Spers1
Abstract: Despite the popularity of the term disruptive innovation, its applications have taken on dierent meanings. Clayton Christensen is a
prominent author in the eld but his approach has not been applied in a consistent manner. To elucidate the use of the term in business studies,
this paper employs a bibliometric approach to provide a descriptive analysis of researchers and their relevant works in the network formed by the
related literature, in addition to distinguishing and grouping associated authors. e results suggest a dissimilarity of objectives between two sub-
groups using the term disruptive innovation, and the discussion about Clayton Christensens specic meaning of the term seems to make sense
to only one of them.
Keywords: disruptive innovation; disruptive technology; innovation; disruption
(1) Economics, Business and Accounting School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
*Corresponding author:
Submitted: August 31st, 2018 / Approved: December 6th, 2018
e terms “disruptive innovation” and “disruptive technology” have
gained prominence in recent years, with academic interest eviden-
ced by special editions of reputed journals dedicated to the theme
of disruption, such as the Journal of Management Studies, Journal of
Product Innovation Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering
Management and Technological Forecasting and Social Change, as
well as by the terms’ inclusion in management and innovation text-
books (e.g., Garud, Kumaraswamy & Langlois, 2003; Besanko, Dra-
nove, & Shanley, 2004; Trott, 2008; and Hill, Jones, & Schilling, 2015).
e terms are usually associated with Clayton Christensen, whose
academic papers obtained high citation grades and whose books
achieved great commercial success. In 2011, e Economist magazine
included Christensen’s 1997 book, e Innovator’s Dilemma, among
the six classics in management literature of the past y years.
Despite Christensens accomplishments, the concept of disruptive in-
novation generated well-known controversies in the eld of manage-
ment studies (Hopp, Antons, Kaminski, & Salge, 2018a). An innova-
tion that causes disruption in a market is not necessarily a disruptive
innovation as Christensen denes it (Schimidt & Druehl, 2008). If,
on the one hand, media success or sales gures do not necessarily re-
present the truth about the development of Christensen’s work, then
some criticisms seem extreme, in terms of both the theoretical quality
of his work and the originality of his contribution. e debate over
the validity of Christensen’s approach has been intense over the past
decade, with exalted condemnations or nonconsensual modications
of the theory by some authors (e.g., Markides, 2006; Daneels, 2004;
Markides, 2013; and King & Baatartogtokh, 2015). Above all, the dis-
cussions manifest the existence of a dispute in this eld of knowledge.
An important and possibly related fact about some of the criticisms
is that, even with the frequent use of the term, the theory’s concepts
are not always applied in a consistent manner. It is not unusual
for the expression “disruptive innovation” to be employed with a
radical meaning that is distant from what was intended by Christen-
sen. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD), for example, disruptive innovation “has a sig-
nicant impact on a market and on the economic activity of rms in
that market. is concept focuses on the impact of the innovations,
as opposed to their novelty” (OECD, 2005, p.58). Famous examples
such as Uber, which has already caused signicant changes in the taxi
industries of several cities around the world and is frequently referred
to as a disruptive innovation, does not t into the concept proposed
by the theory’s authors (Christensen, Raynor, & McDonald, 2015). In
another example of imprecise use, Souza and Takahashi (2012) disre-
garded the possibility of new market disruption when they stated that
“the evolutionary trajectory of the performance of a disruptive inno-
vation makes it eventually competitive in the main market (otherwise
it is not a disruptive innovation)” (our translation, parentheses in the
original, p.123). e authors reduce the predictive qualities of the ap-
proach when they suggest that the theory can only be explained ex
post facto.
Semantic confusion is undesirable in scientic postulates. e conict
over the use of “disruptive innovation” in academic evaluations can
reduce the relevant by-products from research and, consequently, the
contributions to managers and their organizations. Hence, eorts to
reduce asymmetries in terminological understanding are welcome. In
English, where the word “disruption” already belongs to the language,
the confusion between Christensen’s sense and its popular meaning is
apparent and raises heated discussions among some authors. In other
languages that do not embrace the word “disruption” as a native term,
such as Spanish or Portuguese, the confusion should be less frequent
but still manifests itself and, therefore, the correct meaning must be
claried in specialized publications.
Attempts have been made to use bibliometric techniques to better
comprehend the development of the eld. From what is known, bi-
bliometric analysis was applied with a focus on disruptive innova-
tions in Pilkington (2009); Cândido (2011); Schiavi and Behr (2017);
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Li, Porter, and Suominen (2017) and Hopp, Antons, Kaminski, and
Salge (2018b). Pilkington (2009) evaluated three hypotheses related
to the impact of Christensen, and showed the authors’ stable citations
growth over time, eventually expanding to other areas of research be-
yond the strategy and management of organizations. Cândido (2011)
assessed the evolution of the number of papers that contained the
term “disruptive innovation” as a keyword, in addition to its geogra-
phic and periodical distribution. As a project for a doctoral thesis,
the work can be considered less conclusive. Schiavi and Behr (2017)
investigated the term “disruptive business model”. e analysis is
descriptive but comprehensive, beginning with an initial selection of
1,661 articles and examining the 19 most relevant papers published
between 2004 and 2016 in detail. e authors veried the prepon-
derance of applied studies in relation to theoretical approaches and
suggest more bibliometric analyses as an extension of their study. Li,
Porter, and Suominen (2017) analyzed the dichotomy between the
concepts of “disruptive technology” or “disruptive innovation” (DT
or DI) and “emergent technology” (ET), identied a relationship bet-
ween DI and ET, and advocated for a harmonized approach to em-
bracing both concepts. Recently, Hopp, Antons, Kaminski, and Salge
(2018b) mapped disruption-related papers and concentrated on the
84 most researched topics, analyzing the temporal dynamics of the
eld and suggesting the consolidation of peripheral or dissociated to-
pics, together with the conciliation of terminologies.
Dierently from the cited papers, this review focuses on the discus-
sion between “disruptive innovations” as dened by Christensen and
all other types of innovation that, even if not adherent to Christensen’s
concept, were named “disruptive innovation”. We aim to analyze the
literature that applies the term and identify dierences and similari-
ties between authors and related papers. A bibliometric approach is
applied for the analysis of the delineated universe and helps to eva-
luate the prominence of Christensen in the selection, in addition to
distinguishing and grouping authors associated with other connota-
tions of the term.
Evolution of the innovation debate
e origin of studies on innovation with an explicit focus on organi-
zations is not entirely clear, with specic contributions coming from
dierent areas. From a wider perspective, if one looks at improve-
ments in productivity achieved through the use of machines and
new processes as innovations, the discussion has been going on since
the time of Adam Smith. In his classic e Wealth of Nations ([1776]
2007), Smith characterized the division of labor as a facilitator of ma-
chine inventions, which expanded productivity and production and
allowed greater economic development of contemporary societies.
In recent times, Schumpeter (1912) emphasized the importance of
entrepreneurial activities for technological development and con-
sequent economic growth. e author’s work is considered to be
an important reference in many studies directed at organizations.
Schumpeter’s ([1942] 2014) vision of the innovative process evolved
throughout his career, culminating in the recognition that resources,
processes, and routines available to large corporations in concen-
trated markets provide advantages for these companies to innovate.
Over the years, more rened constructs have been developed for the
benet of both countries and organizations.
Among the rst studies to mark the contemporary view of innova-
tion from an organizational perspective are Utterback and Aber-
nathy (1975) and Abernathy and Utterback (1978), which extended
the analyses beyond cases of an incremental nature that occur with
knowledge accumulation in established rms. e authors describe
radical innovations as those associated with the recognition of new
demand and the introduction of superior performance, without solely
seeking to reduce costs with standard technologies. Such innovations
would create recognized competitive advantages over the existing
supply (Porter, 1985). In recent decades, innovations have come to
be evaluated based on other dimensions, incorporating not only a te-
chnological aspect but also demand types (Abernathy & Clark, 1985;
Christensen, 1997) and a system facet (Henderson & Clark, 1990).
In the past, the one-dimensional view of innovation le gaps while
explaining the progress of some technologies and organizations; the-
refore, it seems that more sophisticated models are required.
Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation
e theory of disruptive innovation was developed in the 1990s by
Clayton Christensen while pursuing his Doctorate in Business Ma-
nagement from the Harvard Business School and emerged as an at-
tempt to shed light on why companies failed to identify that some
innovations with less embedded technology threatened their domi-
nant positions. is anomaly was articulated by Christensen and his
colleagues (e.g., Bower & Christensen, 1995; Christensen & Bower,
1996; Christensen, 1997; Christensen & Overdorf, 2000; Christensen
& Raynor, 2003; Christensen, Anthony, & Roth, 2004) with impor-
tant managerial lessons, including that paying exclusive attention to
the best customers and the current values in an established company
would increasingly disengage it from disruptive innovations and
could jeopardize its future growth.
For Christensen, Anthony, and Roth (2004), disruptive innovations
“either create new markets, bring new attractiveness to nonconsu-
mers, or oer more convenience, at lower prices, to lower-income
consumers in an existing market” (p.321). Additionally, domination
by a new entrant in a breakthrough movement in an established mar-
ket may occur, but it is not necessary to characterize an innovation as
disruptive in Christensen’s sense.
According to Christensens theory, rms that innovate in a radical or
incremental manner in a struggle to improve their overall quality in
order to further improve their products, usually pursue the attribu-
tes of a dominant design. Such rms practice so-called “sustaining
innovations” and compete to serve a class of unsatised consumers
who would pay more for improvements in features or attributes of
the product consumed. is group should comprise the majority of
rms and innovations. On the other hand, there are companies that
seek to serve satised consumers and accept or desire a lower quali-
ty or quantity of certain attributes. Such companies practice low-end
disruptive strategies. As an example, Christensen (1997) presents 3½-
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inch oppy disk readers as low-end innovators over their 5¼-inch
competitors in the 1980s. Until that date, although the 3½ disks were
smaller than the dominant 5¼ disks, they did not meet the storage
capacity required by leading minicomputer and PC makers and were
thus produced by companies that served a limited and less protable
market comprised of the nascent laptop industry. Over time, through
incremental innovations, the 3½ oppy disks met the standard stora-
ge capacity required by the minicomputer and PC market, capturing
a signicant portion of the market from its 5¼ competitors. A similar
pattern was found in the previous period:
For example, the 8-inch oppy disk would store 20 MB when
it was rst introduced, while the primary oppy disk market at
that time was mainframe and required 200 MB disk. Not sur-
prisingly, leading computer producers rejected the architecture
of the 8-inch oppy disk initially. As a result, vendors, whose
mainstream products consisted of 14-inch disks with more than
200 MB of capacity, did not aggressively track disruptive pro-
ducts. (Bower & Christensen, 1995, p.45)
Finally, Christensen’s theory states that there are innovations that
bring new consumers to the market, previously untapped due to lack
of ability to consume or enjoy the good (or service) or insucient re-
sources. By making products and services simpler and cheaper, rms
enable the emergence of consumers requesting attributes that are di-
erent from those demanded by the conventional market. Firms that
practice such strategies are called new-market disruptive innovators.
e Sony Walkman is a typical example (Christensen, 1997), as it per-
sonalized music to people who walked or jogged and had no option
available except for portable radio alternatives. More recently, Kenyas
Vodafone-Safaricom M-Pesa provided another example of a new-
market disruptive innovation when it started oering Short Message
Service (SMS) payment services at a time when more sophisticated
and faster technologies were available but did not reach a signicant
portion of potential consumers (Ngugi, Pelowski, & Ogembo, 2010).
Figure 1. Model of the Disruptive Innovation eory developed by Christen-
sen, Anthony, and Roth (2004)
Figure 1 summarizes the essential elements of Christensens theo-
retical model. e dotted lines are the evolutionary trajectories of
the attributes demanded by the average consumer, and the thick
arrows represent the technological evolution of dierent companies.
Company A is one that seeks to increase the supply of attributes
valued by its current customers, and its innovations are called sus-
tainable. Company B, on the other hand, innovates by reducing the
number of attributes in its products (low-end disruptive innovation)
and potentially, but not necessarily, achieves this goal in the future.
Finally, company C captures nonconsumers, who place more value
on a dierent set of attributes than the design favored by dominant
consumers (new-market disruptive innovation).
Christensen argues that his approach is subject to fewer observable
anomalies than previous theoretical constructs, especially with the
incorporation of its most recent advances. In Christensen (2006),
for example, the scope of the theory has been expanded and it now
considers changes in business models as innovation, preferring the
term “disruptive innovation” to the previous “disruptive technology”.
Since the second edition of his book, e Innovator’s Dilemma, in
the year 2000, Christensen has pointed out that resources, processes,
and values would delineate an organization’s innovative possibilities
by building up relevant knowledge applicable to rms threatened by
Criticism of Christensen’s approach
Christensen’s (1997) approach provided an important theoretical ad-
vance. It added constructs and lled gaps le by previous theories
of innovation. Even critical authors recognize the virtues of the ap-
proach and suggest that we do not abandon it (e.g., King & Baatar-
togtokh, 2015). However, similar to any theoretical construction, it
does not evolve without criticism.
Henderson (2006), for example, exposes the fact that the theory is ba-
sed on the cognitive failures of agents who do not identify disruptive
opportunities within the spectrum of indicators already consolidated
by the dominant design and their current clients. e author argues
for the rationality of the leaders of organizations that do not respond
to disruptive innovations, given the characteristics of competencies
already present in established rms. e decision to serve current
customers in the mainstream market, which provides the best prots,
rather than pursuing a disruption with a lesser probability of success
and lower protability, would be reasonable and consistent with the
empirical data. In reference to disruptive innovations that create or
rely on new patterns of market preferences, the author states that it is
“particularly dicult for established rms to respond eectively for
reasons that are embedded in rm competencies” (2006, p.9).
For Markides (2006), the theory developed by Christensen has been
mistakenly used in the analysis of dierent disruptive innovations.
Although Christensen and Raynor (2003) expanded the scope of
disruptive innovations beyond the technological context previously
outlined in Christensen (1997) to also encompass business model and
products, Markides (2006) emphasizes that disruptive innovations
may have some eects on competition that must be administered in
a manner dierent than that advocated by Christensen (1997). Mar-
kides’ argument is that there are dierent kinds of disruptive innova-
tions and that they should be treated dierently. e author explores
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two phenomena present in the literature: innovation in business mo-
del and radical product innovation. According to Markides, these two
types of innovations threaten unprepared rms in a manner similar
to Christensen’s (1997) description, but inhibiting excessive proxi-
mity to customers, as suggested by Bower and Christensen (1995),
would not be the most appropriate approach to innovations that were
not purely technological.
While some authors argue that upmarket innovations that improve
the quality of a product or service may be disruptive innovations
(Markides, 2006), Christensen, Raynor, and McDonald (2015) re-
ject this idea and reiterate that disruptive innovations are exclusively
low-end or new market innovations. Improving what is already being
oered to the mainstream market is not a disruptive innovation in
Christensen’s sense, but rather is a sustaining innovation.
Bibliometric analysis
e evaluation begins with the selection of articles in the Web of
Science database from 1995 to 2017 that have the terms “disrupt* in-
novat*” or “disrupt* technolog*” in their titles, abstracts or keywords.
is method generated 876 papers and 2,299 authors, amounting to
11,941 citations, excluding self-citations. Because the set of articles
was also ltered based on the category of interest, (e.g., Business &
Economics), the selection was restricted to 333 publications by 675
dierent authors. As an additional lter, only articles with at least one
citation were kept, resulting in a sample of 266 articles in 82 journals
by 500 dierent authors. We restrict the sample further by selecting
the ten journals with the highest JCR indices, listed in Table 1, resul-
ting in a universe of analysis consisting of 140 articles.
Tab le 1. Search lters - Web of Science database
Codes Filters # papers # authors
Title, abstract or key-word contai-
ning “disrupt* innovat*” or “disrupt*
876 2.299
(B) Category: Business & Economics 333 675
(C) Number of citation > 0 266 500
Journals: (D1) Technological Fo-
recasting and Social Change; (D2)
Journal od Product Innovation Ma-
nagement; (D3) Harvard Business
Review; (D4) Technovation; (D5)
Research-Technology Management;
(D6) Research Policy; (D7) Techno-
logy Analysis & Strategic Manage-
ment; (D8) Creativity and Innova-
tion Management; (D9) International
Journal of Technology Management;
(D10) IEE Transactions of Enginee-
ring Management.
140 301
e temporal evolution of the publications in the universe of analysis
begins in 1995 with Bower and Christensen’s (1995) seminal article,
Disruptive Technologies - Catching the wave, in which the “disruptive
innovation” concept was still referred to by the term “disruptive tech-
nology”. Between 1995 and 1999, there were no articles in the sample.
e peak of representation occurred in 2013 with the publication of
17 articles. Table 2 summarizes the distribution of the number of pu-
blications in each journal in the research universe.
Table 2. Distribution of the number of articles by periodical and year of publication. Codes (D1) and (D10) follow as in Table 1
Publication year
Tot a l
(D1) 42 7323 5245138
(D2) 1 1 2 2 3 1 2 2 1 1 16
(D3) 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
(D4) 2 1 1 3 2 2 2 13
(D5) 1 1 2 1 1 4 1 1 12
(D6) 1 1 2 2 1 1 3 11
(D7) 1 2 3 3 2 11
(D8) 1 2 3 2 1 9
(D9) 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 9
(D10) 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
Tot a l 1 1 2 7 1 9 3 2 12 11 6 11 12 11 17 12 10 10 2 140
Within this research universe, the core subjects selected were the 25
most cited articles, produced by 55 different authors, and represen-
ting more than 75% of the citations in the universe; that is, 3,215 cita-
tions out of a total of 4,281 from 140 articles. Then, after this selection
of authors and their co-citations, the metadata were submitted to
analysis, carried out with the support of the Bibexcel and Stata
software. The set of the 25 articles selected is presented in the ap-
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Assuming that authors can be identified with a single theoreti-
cal framework, the analysis of co-citations was made using the
authors of the 25 papers selected as units of analysis, resulting
in a total of 55 names. Based on these names and those pre-
sent in the co-citation list, a network was constructed and the
centrality and intermediation grades were calculated. The net-
work is visualized in Figure 2, which was restricted to authors
cited at least 300 times in the research universe and has distinct
coloration for each of the two groups formed: Group 1 in red and
Group 2 in green.
Figure 2. Author co-citation network
e clusters suggest that authors who are critical of some
Christensen`s ideas, such as Erwin Danneels, or even authors who
employ a concept distinct from that proposed by Christensen, such
as Michael Tushman, are in the same cluster (Group 2 (green)). On
the other hand, Group 1 (red) contemplates authors whose papers
focus more on the application of innovation management tools and
techniques, such as technological roadmaps, and who rarely discuss
the theoretical aspects common to other areas of investigation. e
centrality and intermediation degrees for the authors calculated in
the standard and normalized versions are presented in Table 3 and
show that Christensen has both high centrality and intermediation,
suggesting that the author not only concentrates attention but also
aids in the development of the network close to several pairs, even
from a dierent group.
Tab le 3. Grouping, degrees of centrality and intermediation of main authors
Author Group
Author Group
Standard Normalized Standard Normalized
Christensen C 2 37 0.804 Walsh S 1 419.02 0.202
Bower J 2 36 0.783 Daim T 1 321.00 0.155
Danneels E 2 29 0.630 Lee J 1 315.51 0.152
Baker W 2 25 0.543 Christensen C 2 259.45 0.125
Daim T 1 22 0.478 Kirchho B 1 225.85 0.109
Lee C 1 21 0.457 Newbert S 1 178.10 0.086
Lee J 1 21 0.457 Phaal R 1 165.11 0.080
Johnson M 2 21 0.457 Robinson D 1 164.76 0.080
Gassmann O 2 19 0.413 Prusak L 2 151.36 0.073
Lee S 1 19 0.413 Baker W 2 147.35 0.071
Moreover, as this study took the approach of constructing groups by
author, it was not possible to glimpse the situation in which the same
author has works with distinct characteristics; for example, belonging
to dierent groups. is is the case of Steve Walsh, who possesses the
highest degree of intermediation. As an illustration of his importan-
ce, if one ignores the minimum node rule in each cluster, the author
emerges at the head of a third cluster. To cover more details about the
groups, the analysis continued with a focus on the keywords given by
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the original set of 140 articles and the construction of their network.
e resulting map is shown in Figure 3, with a cluster-oriented cons-
truction and a minimum of 13 occurrences, chosen ad hoc to improve
visual representation of the network.
Figure 3. Keyword occurrence network
Figure 3 is in line with initial impressions that there is one group
(red) which is associated with the development of management tools,
such as the technology roadmap and is less concerned with discus-
sing the term “disruptive innovation” or its meaning as suggested by
Christensen. Disruptive innovations for this group are those that
oppose incremental or architectural innovations and are usually
taken as synonyms for radical or breakthrough innovations. is
group has been more frequently featured in the journal Technolo-
gical Forecasting and Social Change. On the other hand, the other
group (green) exposes dierent typologies of innovation that are
more associated with works that seek theoretical development in
management disciplines, but which are criticized for having a re-
trospective view. ey consist of texts written by Christensen and
colleagues but also by authors who discuss or criticize their con-
cepts (e.g., Daneels, 2004; Schmidt & Druehl, 2008). ey are part
of the business and management community, with major contribu-
tions made by the Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Pro-
duct Innovation Management.
As a nal point, based on the exercise carried out, a composition was
constructed with two major thematic groups related to disruptive in-
novations. is conciliation is presented in Table 4.
Table 4. Group composition of selected articles
Group Authors Associated terms Characteristics
Bower J; Christensen C; Danne-
els E; Henderson R; Markides C;
O’Reilly C; Tushman M; Utter-
back J;
Creative destruction;
Business model innovation;
Technological discontinuities;
Radical innovation;
It seeks to explain and test determinants of innovations;
Related to the business and management community.
Engages, discusses or tests Christensen’s concepts.
Daim T; Kosto R;
Lee S; Linton J;
Phaal R; Porter A;
Walsh S; Yoon B;
Technology roadmap;
Innovation management;
Technology planning;
Technology entrepreneurship;
Tech mining
Employs prediction or similar tools in innovation management;
Related to multidisciplinary communities.
Do not discuss Christensen`s concepts.
e Red subgroup is dedicated to assisting with the monito-
ring, planning, acquisition or employment of technologies, with a
multidisciplinary focus and strong inuence on engineering.
Although the use of the term “disruptive innovation” is associated
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with radical events, the discussion about the conceptualization given
by Christensen is almost nonexistent. e Green subgroup has a grea-
ter adherence to the area of business and strategy and presents more
enthusiasm for theoretical constructions. It is common for this group
to test or discuss the conception of disruptive innovation proposed
by Christensen. e authors from this group do not always agree with
Christensen’s conceptualization, but it is in this group that eventual
discussions about the term tend to occur.
Final remarks
e understanding of dierent types of innovation is relevant to the
advancement of theoretical constructs and applications within or-
ganizations, an idea that has been accepted at least since Utterback
and Abernathy (1975), and disruptive innovations should not be an
exception. e present paper tried to map the main authors related
to the theme and their respective publications. For readers less fa-
miliar with the debate, this enables the selection of important papers
to obtain a better understanding of the insertion of Christensen into
the research universe. For more experienced practitioners and acade-
mics, the work provides a panoramic view of the eld associated with
disruptive innovation, with an explicit suggestion for further develo-
pment of the theory in the last paragraph.
Overall, the analysis showed that Christensens prominence in the
debate is evident. Even if a reader considers Christensen’s disruptive
innovation denition trivial, incomplete, or misleading, his name has
acquired distinction in the literature. In addition to his high degree
of centrality, he also has one of the highest degrees of intermediation.
Although simpler terminology and denitions may be preferred
(Hopp et al., 2018b), a semantic narrowing of the term “disruptive
innovation” seems to be necessary for the consequent development
of innovation theories. e narrowing of the concept has two advan-
tages. Firstly, it provides a clearer path to theoretical improvements.
More precise constructs may reduce undesirable ambiguities and help
us to better understand how rms cope with disruptive innovations
and introduce them. Secondly, it helps feed our hunger for knowled-
ge on disruptive innovation and facilitates the collection of data and
the production of missed quantitative-related studies. Along this line,
instead of looking for a term best suited to explaining the multiface-
ted phenomenon of disruptive innovations, it may be the case that we
are facing dierent phenomena and, if this is so, a dierent term is
desirable. Consequently, for those contemplating Christensen’s con-
cept of disruptive innovation, the use of alternative terminology such
as the “Christensen eect” (Christensen, 2006, p. 42) seems to be an
attractive suggestion for further development of the theory.
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J. Technol. Manag. Innov. 2019. Volume 14, Issue 1
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Table A. Summary of selected articles
Reference Title Journal # Authors Citations
O’Reilly and Tushman (2004) e Ambidextrous Organization Harvard Business Review 2 602
Bower and Christensen (1995) Disruptive Technologies - Catching e Wave Harvard Business Review 2 527
Phaal et al. (2004) Technology Roadmapping - A Planning Framework ... Tech Forec & Social Change 3 355
Johnson et al. (2008) Reinventing Your Business Model Harvard Business Review 3 328
Danneels (2004) Disruptive Technology Reconsidered: A Critique ... Journal Of Product Innov Manag 1 256
Christensen et al. (2000) Will Disruptive Innovations Cure Health Care? Harvard Business Review 3 231
Walsh (2004) Roadmapping A Disruptive Technology ... Tech Forec & Social Change 1 144
Christensen et al. (2006) Disruptive Innovation For Social Change Harvard Business Review 4 142
Kosto et al. (2004) Disruptive Technology Roadmaps Tech Forec & Social Change 3 134
Song et al. (2008) Success Factors In New Ventures: A Meta-Analysis Journal Of Product Innov Manag 4 125
Baker and Sinkula (2007) Does Market Orientation Facilitate Balanced Innova-
tion ... Journal Of Product Innov Manag 2 122
Massa and Testa (2008) Innovation And Smes: Misaligned Perspectives ... Technovation 2 110
Walsh et al. (2002) Dierentiating Market Strategies For Disruptive … IEEE Transactions On Eng Manag 3 91
Lee and Park (2005) Customization Of Technology Roadmaps ... Tech Forec & Social Change 2 90
Lee et al. (2009) Business Planning Based On Technological Capabili-
ties... Tech Forec & Social Change 4 89
Prusak and Cohen (2001) How To Invest In Social Capital Harvard Business Review 2 88
Lee et al. (2013) An Integrated Service-Device-Technology Roadmap ... Tech Forec & Social Change 3 66
Daim and Oliver (2008) Implementing Technology Roadmap Process ... Tech Forec & Social Change 2 66
Zeschky et al. (2011) Frugal Innovation In Emerging Markets... Research-Technology Manag. 3 63
Robinson and Propp (2008) Multi-Path Mapping For Alignment Strategies... Tech Forec & Social Change 2 63
Schmidt and Druehl (2008) When Is A Disruptive Innovation Disruptive? Journal Of Product Innov Manag 2 61
Kosto et al. (2007) Global Nanotechnology Research Literature Overview Tech Forec & Social Change 3 58
Islam and Miyazaki (2010) An Empirical Analysis Of Nanotechnology … Technovation 2 57
Walsh et al. (2005) e Semiconductor Silicon Industry Roadmap... Tech Forec & Social Change 4 56
Sapsed et al. (2007) A Bridge Over Troubled Waters... Research Policy 3 53
J. Technol. Manag. Innov. 2019. Volume 14, Issue 1
ISSN: 0718-2724. (
Journal of Technology Management & Innovation © Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Facultad de Economía y Negocios. 82
... These terms map fairly well onto other terms common in the literature-like "novel" versus "incremental" innovation (Maslach, 2016), product "reorientation" versus "variation" (Normann, 1971), "disruptive" versus "sustaining" (Christensen, 1997) or "discontinuous" versus "architectural" (O'Reilly and Tushman, 2016) innovations-but their overlaps are not perfect. Christensen et al. (2018) review the intellectual history of disruptive innovation and how it relates to other innovation categories (for additional reviews, see Hopp, Antons, Kaminski & Salge, 2018a, b, c;Kawamoto and Spers, 2019). Important differences have been identified between disruptive and radical innovations. ...
... It is a broader term that includes disruptive innovation and technology-driven innovation (O'Reilly and Tushman, 2016). The industry leader can pursue both innovation types, but leading incumbents are less likely to pursue disruptive innovation (Christensen, 1997;Christensen et al., 2018;Hopp et al., 2018aHopp et al., , 2018bHopp et al., , 2018cKawamoto and Spers, 2019). Ettlie et al.'s (1984: 683) broad definition of radical innovation as "a clear, risky departure from existing practice" with a high "magnitude or cost of change" fits our study well. ...
... However, it is important to note that organizational permissiveness is not the only, or even the primary, mechanism through which innovation-intensive strategy drives radical innovation. The innovation literature has produced a wealth of research, some described above, explaining and empirically demonstrating the complex relationships between investment in innovation and radical innovation outcomes (for recent reviews, see Christensen et al., 2018;Hopp et al., 2018a, b, c;Kawamoto and Spers, 2019). We do not contest previously identified mechanisms. ...
... Digitalization is frequently referred to as digital disruption, the use of disruptive technologies, or disruptive innovation [4]. Skog et al. [5] (p. ...
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The combined effects of decarbonization and digitalization have had a significant impact on the German automotive industry, with different business models emerging that often involve new business alliances with other automotive companies and technology companies. This rapid and dramatic change momentum has resulted in a “knowledge deficit” in the industry, as regards the skills and know-how required to operate successfully in the digital economy. Using an inductive, qualitative research methodology, based on in-depth interviews with industry experts and practitioners, this article identifies the main areas in which skills, knowledge and competencies are lacking, and assesses the main ways in which the industry is trying to address the problem. A number of emergent issues are also discussed. The article finds that many years of technology outsourcing have left the industry deficient in core technology skills for software development, data management and architecture design, and that new competencies in cybersecurity, platforms and ecosystems, and sourcing management are also urgently needed. The industry is addressing this challenge through a combination of strategies, including major partnership arrangements with the big tech companies. The article concludes that entrepreneurial innovation and radical digital leadership will be required to adequately address the knowledge deficit in the digital era.
... We used the Web of Science Core Collection (indexes: SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, A&HCI, and ESCI) and EBSCO Host Business Source Premier (Sageder et al. 2018;Gregori and Parastuty 2021). Both databases offer access to reputable journals dedicated to the topic of disruptive innovation, such as the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Management Studies, and Academy of Management Perspectives (Kawamoto and Spers 2019). While many systematic reviews typically draw on a wide range of related search terms to include studies that refer to similar concepts such as radical or discontinuous innovation, we limited our literature sample to papers related to the search term "disrupt*" in combination with the search terms "business model*", "ambidext*", "organi?ation* structure*", "explor*" and "exploit*" (see also Bouncken et al. 2015). ...
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Today companies are facing challenges to survive due to substantial transformations induced by digital technologies, ever-changing consumer demands, and environmental uncertainties. Thus, companies need to be innovative to sustain competitive advantages. Scholars and practitioners have recognized the potential of disruptive innovations as a key factor for a company’s competitiveness. Yet, such innovations often challenge established companies due to the tensions between their traditional business model and the newly emerging business model required for disruptive change. The theory of ambidextrous organizations has offered a variety of solutions to tackle these barriers referring to the alignment of exploration and exploitation within an organization’s structure. Current literature, however, faces inconsistencies regarding how this can be achieved. With this study, we therefore aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of how ambidextrous structures enable incumbent companies to reduce the barriers to disruptive business models. On the basis of a systematic literature review, we analyze and compare potential structures and their characteristics proposed in the ambidexterity literature. Drawing on our review, we conceptualize a framework linking the different organizational structures to the barriers associated with disruptive business models. Our framework identifies a range of seven structures which can resolve the barriers and thus support managers in their structural decisions on how to align exploration and exploitation to pave the way for disruptive business models.
For decades, the German automotive industry has benefitted from a process of IT-enabled transformation with the ongoing deployment of state-of-the-art IT. Despite the high relevance of IT for innovation and process efficiency, the industry has outsourced up to 80% of the IT budget to external IT providers as IT has generally not been seen as a core competence. In recent years, the phenomenon of digital transformation has emerged, along with the consequent disruptive impacts associated with digital technology deployment. One area of significance in the corporate environment is the current and potential impact of digital transformation on future IT sourcing strategies. Through an analysis of existing literature and a series of in-depth interviews with industry experts, the chapter examines how and why the German automotive industry is reviewing IT sourcing strategies in response to the anticipated implications of digital transformation. A change in the ratio between outsourcing and insourcing has a significant impact on in-house employment and third-party business operations.
Industry 4.0 had brought changes in the business industry. Cutting-Edge Business technology has enabled the emergence of the business disruption phenomenon. The key to disrupting the existing market is also gaining a greater purpose through supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations as part of the business model. This paper proposes that in addition to the implementation of cutting-edge business technology, it is necessary to have a noble purpose and develop a flourishing (Arabic: Barokah) business. This concept is ensuring that the more the companies are doing business, the more they are doing good to the world. What matters is not to be the best in the world but to be the best for the world. The limitation of the paper lies in the descriptive approach. In the future, empirical research on the flourishing business phenomenon should be further explored.KeywordsCreating shared valuesCutting-edge business technologyDisruptive innovationflourishing businessSustainable-development-goals
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This study used the Scopus scientific publication database to analyse the articles that include the concept of political uncertainty as a variable of study in the economic and administrative sciences. The methodology is based on bibliometric analysis applied to the period between the years 2010 and 2022. One of the findings of the study is that the concept of political uncertainty is widely used in economic and administrative sciences researches. It is observed that related concepts such as economic policy uncertainty, political risk and climate change are also present as keywords of such studies. Lastly, it can be seen that countries such as the United States, China and the United Kingdom are the ones that contribute the most in number of publications, also, certain authors and magazines show high impact in the measurement of metrics such as the H index.
The significant competitive environment around the hospitality industry triggers the exploration of novel ways and elements of coherent performance. Although disruptive innovations in the hospitality industry are complex, it provides compelling opportunities. Moreover, its emergence cannot be bestowed upon the current pandemic, since it is considered to be as old as business itself. The aim of the chapter is to capture the role of disruptive innovation in enabling the hospitality industry to engineer business excellence. Also, the chapter attempts to provide insights into the potential disruptions that will rule the hospitality industry in the future. The recent findings from this field show that the hospitality sector has already begun to adopt innovations gradually to respond to consumer behavior transition driven by on-demand services. Finally, the author concludes with the assertion that disruptive innovations are pivotal in the survival and sustenance of the hospitality businesses.
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The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised concerns about the availability of health care facilities globally. Disruptive innovations in health care may impact a new system that provides a continuum of treatment tailored to each patient’s specific requirements. In light of this evolution, this study aimed to visualize global research output on disruptive innovation in health care between 2001 to 2021 as indexed in the Scopus database. The dataset was extracted on January 10, 2022, and 204 records were identified for data analysis. Various bibliometric indicators were used to identify publication trends. VOSviewer visualization software was also used to analyze data. The findings revealed the increasing pattern of publication growth with slight fluctuation over time. M. Friebe was the most prolific author having contributed four publications. The Harvard Medical School was the most productive institution with eight publications and the United States was the most productive country with 84 publications on disruptive innovation in health care. Furthermore, human, health care, and disruptive innovation were the top keywords in this field. These findings are expected to be useful to academics and administrators all across the world. This study also gives readers insight into this domain and will allow them to begin their research by selecting a topic of their choice.
Digital disruptions are substantially impacting businesses and reshaping our economy worldwide, attracting increasing attention in research and practice. However, research lacks theoretical framing and understanding of the emergence, development, and impact of digital disruption. This study analyses and structures the fragmented knowledge on digital disruption by means of a systematic literature review, identifying five relevant key dimensions, i.e., disruption characteristics, market factors, organisational factors, value constellation, and impact/outcomes. Based on this analysis and classic disruption theory, we develop a theory-informed integrative framework, proposing nine relevant layers of digital disruption and deriving corresponding theoretical propositions for future research. The study makes an initial contribution towards theory development and a comprehensive understanding of the digital disruption concept. It may serve as the starting point for further theory development and a guiding scheme for managers on how to create or deal with digital disruption.
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This analysis provides novel insights into the theoretical and practical dichotomy between “disruptive” and “radical” innovation. Using a natural language processing approach, the article takes stock of extant disruption research and analyzes the full-text corpus of 1,078 journal articles published on disruption between 1975 and 2016. This allows yields a topic map composed of 84 distinct topics that present the overall topic structure of this dynamic field. Topic network analyses uncover the existence of two increasingly disconnected sub networks centered around disruptive innovation at the macro level and radical innovation at the micro level. This disconnect is consequential, as both perspectives appear to be highly interdependent, and conceptually constitute two sides of the same coin. To counteract the threat of growing fragmentation and reconnect these sub networks, three research priorities are proposed, firmly grounded in a systematic literature analysis: 1) The need to consolidate peripheral and de-coupled topics, 2) The necessity to reconcile competing terminologies and refocus the theoretical core, and 3) The imperative to strengthen the generalizable empirical evidence base. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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“Disruptive technology & disruptive innovation“ have been of scholarly interest for years, but there is still a need to better understand the nature of disruptions and their relationship to emerging technology processes. This paper pursues these issues by analyzing the interplay of technological emergence, disruption, and innovation. Applying bibliometric methods, the paper explores the conceptual foundations, themes, and research communities within these research domains. The results highlight the multiple theoretical foundations of research around technological change processes, disruption, and emergence. These differences among the domains invite conceptual cross-fertilization and consideration of interdisciplinary approaches to technological (and commercial) emergence.
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Few academic management theories have had as much influence in the business world as Clayton M. Christensen's theory of disruptive innovation. But how well does the theory describe what actually happens in business?
Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in technological innovation—a model that links theories of resource dependence and resource allocation. We show that established firms led the industry in developing technologies of every sort—even radical ones—whenever the technologies addressed existing customers' needs. The same firms failed to develop simpler technologies that initially were only useful in emerging markets, because impetus coalesces behind, and resources are allocated to, programs targeting powerful customers. Projects targeted at technologies for which no customers yet exist languish for lack of impetus and resources. Because the rate of technical progress can exceed the performance demanded in a market, technologies which initially can only be used in emerging markets later can invade mainstream ones, carrying entrant firms to victory over established companies.
The authors do not have rights to distribute the full-text online so only the table of contents and front matter are provided here. If you are an instructor seeking a review copy or teaching supplements, please use this link to locate your Cengage representative: Brief Contents PART ONE INTRODUCTION TO STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT 1 Strategic Leadership: Managing the Strategy-Making Process for Competitive Advantage 1 2 External Analysis: The Identification of Opportunities and Threats 43 PART TWO THE NATURE OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE 3 Internal Analysis: Distinctive Competencies, Competitive Advantage, and Profitability 80 4 Building Competitive Advantage through Functional-Level Strategies 116 PART THREE STRATEGIES 5 Business-Level Strategy 153 6 Business-Level Strategy and the Industry Environment 178 7 Strategy and Technology 210 8 Strategy in the Global Environment 246 9 Corporate-Level Strategy: Horizontal Integration, Vertical Integration, and Strategic Outsourcing 286 10 Corporate-Level Strategy: Related and Unrelated Diversification 318 PART FOUR IMPLEMENTING STRATEGY 11 Corporate Performance, Governance, and Business Ethics 359 12 Implementing Strategy through Organization 395 CASES