How Useful Is the Theory of Disruptive Innovation?

Few academic management theories have had as much influence in the business world as Clayton M. Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation. But how well does the theory describe what actually happens in business?

The turmoil of business competition has often been likened to a stormy sea. “Gales of creative destruction,” economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote, periodically sweep through industries, sinking weak and outdated companies.1 In the mid-1990s, the winds of change appeared especially powerful, threatening even some of the strongest businesses. Enter Clayton M. Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School who is now considered ...

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