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Organizational Responses to Discontinuous Innovation: A Case Study Approach

International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. VII, No. 1, March 2004

28 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2004 Last revised: 3 Aug 2012

Jeffrey Thomas Macher

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business - Strategy, Economics and Policy

Barak D. Richman

Duke University - School of Law

Date Written: March 2004

Abstract

Research that examines entrant-incumbent dynamics often points to the organisational limitations that constrain incumbents from successfully pursuing new technologies or fending off new entrants. Some incumbents are nevertheless able to successfully implement organisational structures and develop routines that overcome these institutional constraints. We provide a case-study analysis of how three firms — Motorola, IBM and Kodak — responded to "discontinuous" innovations and the associated structural and organisational limitations that typical to incumbent organisations. Each firm was able to capture gains from new technologies and develop profitable products in emerging markets, although their abilities to sustain these gains varied due to subsequent organisational changes. Drawing from these case studies, we synthesise how firms can institute organisation strategies to continue to capture gains from disruptive innovations. A schema suggests that particular organisation strategies are comparatively optimal for corresponding points along an innovation lifecycle.

Keywords: Architectural/Radical Innovation, Entrant-Incumbant Competition, Managemenet of Technology

JEL Classification: L20, O32

Suggested Citation

Macher, Jeffrey Thomas and Richman, Barak D., Organizational Responses to Discontinuous Innovation: A Case Study Approach (March 2004). International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. VII, No. 1, March 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=485282

Jeffrey Thomas Macher

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business - Strategy, Economics and Policy ( email )

335 Hariri Building
Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-4793 (Phone)

Barak D. Richman (Contact Author)

Duke University - School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-613-7244 (Phone)
919-613-7231 (Fax)

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