The overlooked role of embeddedness in disruptive innovation theory

Reinhardt, Ronny; Gurtner, Sebastian (July 2018). The overlooked role of embeddedness in disruptive innovation theory Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 132, pp. 268-283. Elsevier 10.1016/j.techfore.2018.02.011

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Disruptive innovation theory assumes that primary and secondary performance dimensions as well as price influence adoption and use differently depending on the product category. Study 1 tests this premise using a large and heterogeneous sample of consumers. We surveyed 871 users in three traditional, high-cost product categories (business software, video games, conventional TV) and three related, potentially disruptive, low-costproduct categories (mobile business apps, mobile games, internet TV). The study does not find systematic differences between the effects of more technologically-oriented performance dimensions or price on adoption. Following an explanatory mixed-methods approach, Study 2, which relies on 32 in-depth interviews with consumers, shows that product embeddedness, a more socially-oriented dimension, may play a decisive role in explaining the results. Embeddedness, defined as the degree to which a product is anchored in the social, market and technological system of the user, is an important moderator that complements extant theory and may thus help to better understand the dynamics of disruptive innovations.

Item Type:

Newspaper or Magazine Article


Business School > Institute for Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship > Low-end Innovation
Business School


Reinhardt, Ronny and
Gurtner, Sebastian






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Date Deposited:

09 Aug 2019 13:37

Last Modified:

09 Aug 2019 13:37

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Disruptive innovation Low-cost innovation New product adoption Technology acceptance Embeddedness Mixed-methods




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