The role of inter-organizational networks in enabling or delaying disruptive innovation: a case study of mVoIP

Niki Hynes (Graduate School of Business, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Andrew David Elwell (iVEC@UWA, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Publication date: 4 July 2016



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of inter-organizational networks in the emergence of a disruptive technology by taking a snapshot view of the UK market for mobile voice over internet protocol (mVoIP) technologies. By delineating the technologies required for an mVoIP call to occur, the role of incumbents, technology and inter-organizational networks is explored.


The paper uses a case study approach using secondary data from a variety of sources including company websites, newspapers, technical press and users to form a picture of the current situation.


The authors show that inter-organizational networks can act both to enable and delay disruptive technologies. They discuss the difference between collaborative and collective actions and the way in which these can slow or even prevent a new emerging technology.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on secondary data and the research results may lack generalizability to other technologies.

Practical implications

The need for new business models for mVoIP is discussed.


Disruptive technologies are difficult to predict or map until after the market disruption has occurred. This paper aims to map a disruptive technology at a point in time when the technology is still emerging. The study is based on a comprehensive analysis of technology and market actions and is also based on secondary data: it is limited at the detailed level to one geographic market but provides a unique snapshot of an emerging disruptive technology.



Niki Hynes and Andrew David Elwell (2016) "The role of inter-organizational networks in enabling or delaying disruptive innovation: a case study of mVoIP", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 722-731

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