Understanding when entrants might have an advantage over an industry’s incumbent firms in developing and adopting new technologies is a question which several scholars have explained in terms of technological capabilities or organizational dynamics. This paper proposes that the value network—the context within which a firm competes and solves customers’ problems—is an important factor affecting whether incumbent or entrant firms will most successfully innovate. In a study of technology development in the disk drive industry, the authors found that incumbents led the industry in developing and adopting new technologies of every sort identified by earlier scholars—at component and architectural levels; competency-enhancing and competency-destroying; incremental and radical—as long as the technology addressed customers’ needs within the value network in which the incumbents competed. Entrants led in developing and adopting technologies which addressed user needs in different, emerging value networks. It is in these innovations, which disrupted established trajectories of technological progress in established markets, that attackers proved to have an advantage. The rate of improvement in product performance which technologists provide may exceed the rate of improvement demanded in established markets. This mismatch between trajectories enables firms entering emerging value networks subsequently to attack the industry’s established markets as well.
Christensen, C. and Rosenbloom, R. (2014), "Explaining the Attacker’s Advantage: Technological Paradigms, Organizational Dynamics, and the Value Network This chapter is a reprint of the article “Explaining the attacker’s advantage: technological paradigms, organizational dynamics, and the value network” published in the
This chapter is a reprint of the article “Explaining the attacker’s advantage: technological paradigms, organizational dynamics, and the value network” published in the
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