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The Disruption Dilemma$
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Joshua Gans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034487

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034487.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Disruption Dilemma

Joshua Gans

The MIT Press

Disruption is a phenomenon whereby successful companies fail precisely because they are doing the things that made them successful in the first place (e.g., listening to customers, high innovation rates). It does not mean complacency or incompetence. There are two theories of disruption—a demand-side and a supply-side theory. The demand-side theory asserts that failure can arise from single-minded focus on existing customers. The supply-side theory asserts that failure can arise from innovation intensity towards existing technologies at the expense of being flexible enough to transition to new ones. The book shows that, while the theories relate certain disruptive events to disruption, the evidence is mixed. Often what should be disruptive events arise but disruption does not occur. The reason why this link is not tight is that some successful firms have found ways to manage disruption.

Keywords:   Disruption, Britannica, containerization

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