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Faculty & Research


The Multifaceted Concept of Disruption: A Typology

Journal Article
Although strategic management scholars have long been interested in disruption as a phenomenon, the latter has not been systematically categorized yet. Building on the existing literature, the authors develop a typology that encompasses four types of disruption: technological, business model, regulatory, and social movements. The authors' semi-systematic review of the literature sheds light on the characteristics of disruptions and proposes a classification along two dimensions rooted in existing research: whether a disruption is “constraining” vs. “unconstraining”, and whether it has an insider-driven vs. outsider-driven origin. The authors then consider three key phases of strategic action - predictability, ambiguity in response, and imitability - to explore how industry players are affected by the four types of disruption. The authors' proposed framework is empirically validated in a series of six mini case studies. The authors' article helps innovation scholars disentangle the nature of different types of disruption depending on their primary cause and shows how non-technological disruptions can challenge incumbents’ status.

Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour