Innovation Inhibitors as Catalysts of Societal Progress – The Role of Resistance Leaders in Innovation Diffusion

Hietschold, Nadine; Reinhardt, Ronny; Gurtner, Sebastian (December 2016). Innovation Inhibitors as Catalysts of Societal Progress – The Role of Resistance Leaders in Innovation Diffusion In: ISPIM Innovation Summit. Kuala Lumpur / Malaysia. 04.-07.12.2016.

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Conventional wisdom associates innovations and technologies with drivers of societal progress and promotes openness to change. However, many consumers respond with resistance to novelties. Previous literature describes resisters as passive laggards who are reluctant to change. Active opponents whoinitiate countermeasures are rarely the focus of research endeavours. We shed light on resistance leaders’ idiosyncrasies, motives and societal roles with multiple case study research, including eight cases, 21 interviews and more than 400 secondary data sources. Contradictory to conventional wisdom, we find that resistance leaders are not laggards – they have pro-societal motives, are innovative and can take two different roles to promote societal progress. Aggregators gather negative opinions of consumers and reflect the present consumer concerns about an innovation. Initiators are the first who recognize a potential problem and focus on uncertain wider implication of technologies. Our new theory leads to several managerial implications and provides avenues for future research.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


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


Hietschold, Nadine0000-0002-5624-8860;
Reinhardt, Ronny and
Gurtner, Sebastian




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Date Deposited:

04 Sep 2019 11:41

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2023 21:45

Uncontrolled Keywords:

innovation adoption; consumer resistance; technology acceptance; innovation diffusion; resistance leader; active opposition




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