Strategies for Survival in Fast-Changing Industries

Management Science, Vol. 44, No. 12, December 1998

14 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2013

See all articles by Clayton M. Christensen

Clayton M. Christensen

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Fernando Suarez

Northeastern University, D'Amore-McKim School of Business

James Utterback

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: December 1, 1998

Abstract

Technology strategy variables tend to predominate as predictors of survival in the fast-changing rigid disk drive industry. Building on these previous studies, we here test the hypothesis that the technological and market strategies of a new entrant are highly interrelated and that their joint effect plays an important role in a firm's probability of survival. In particular, we propose that firms that target new market segments with an architectural innovation will tend to be more successful than those that target existing markets or innovate in component technology, even after controlling for all the competing predictors of survival.

This paper advances the existing literature on innovation by tracing the main technical elements of a dominant design in the rigid disk drive industry over time, and provides a much more rigorous definition of the concept of a dominant design than we have had in the past. We find the notion of first-mover advantage is not applicable in the rigid disk drive industry. Instead, we propose the idea of an entry-window tightly linked to the emergence of the dominant product design as defined.

Keywords: Dominant Designs, Innovation, Standards, Disk Drives, Strategy, Technology

Suggested Citation

Christensen, Clayton M. and Suarez, Fernando and Utterback, James M., Strategies for Survival in Fast-Changing Industries (December 1, 1998). Management Science, Vol. 44, No. 12, December 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2363085

Clayton M. Christensen

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

Fernando Suarez (Contact Author)

Northeastern University, D'Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.fernandofsuarez.com

James M. Utterback

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E52-541
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2661 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

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