Making sense of disruptive innovation : exploring the innovator’s dilemma from a Weickean perspective

Matibidi, Mafora Cassious (2019-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The thesis presents a theoretical analysis of the role that organisational sensemaking processes play in shaping how incumbents respond to disruptive innovations. Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation is described and analysed with a view to extend our understanding of the challenges that disruptive innovations present to incumbents. The contribution of the thesis is to position and analyse these challenges as an organisational sensemaking problem. Christensen’s theory offers convincing arguments regarding the challenges disruptive innovations present to incumbents. However, current understanding of these challenges is based on a decision-making perspective, which is rooted in a rational model of organisations, and focuses only on the effects of cognition on actions, leaving the effects of action on cognition unaccounted for. By drawing on Weick’s organisational sensemaking perspective, the thesis brings more light to the obscured features within the context where incumbents perceive or interact with disruptive innovations. This affords a broadened focus on and a richer understanding of organisational processes and their outcomes through embracing cognition and action, as well as the interplay between the two, within organisational contexts. Thus, the thesis reveals the limits of the theory of disruptive innovation by presenting additional dimensions to what shapes human conduct in organisations. Considerations of identity, enactment, commitment, plausibility, and the effects of interrupted projects are among the sources of insight from sensemaking that offer additional or alternative ways for understanding of and theorising about Christensen’s observations about disruptive innovation. The thesis concludes by highlighting the implications of a sensemaking perspective on the study of established organisations and their potential challenges in addressing disruptive innovation driven market changes. Thus, positioning incumbents’ challenges as a sensemaking problem also links the fields of innovation and sensemaking.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die tesis bied 'n teoretiese analise van die rol wat organisatoriese singewingsprosesse speel in hoe gevestigde organisasies op ontwrigtende innovasie reageer. Christensen se teorie van ontwrigtende innovasie word beskryf en ontleed om ons begrip uit te brei oor die uitdagings wat ontwrigtende innovasie aan gevestigde organisasies bied. Die bydrae van die tesis is dat hierdie uitdagings as 'n organisatoriese singewingsprobleem gestel en ontleed word. Christensen se teorie bied oortuigende argumente oor die uitdagings wat ontwrigtende innovasies verteenwoordig. Huidige verstaan van hierdie uitdagings is egter gegrond op 'n besluitnemingsperspektief gewortel in 'n rasionele model van organisasies en fokus daarom slegs op die effek van kognisie op aksies, terwyl die effek van aksies op kognisie agterwee gelaat word. Die tesis werp, met behulp van Weick se organisatoriese singewingsperspektief, meer lig op hierdie verskuilde aspekte binne 'n konteks waar gevestigde organisasies ontwrigtings waarneem of mee omgaan. Hierdie benadering bied 'n breër fokus op en 'n ryker begrip van organisatoriese prosesse en hul uitkomste deur die insluiting van kognisie en aksie, sowel as die wisselwerking tussen die twee binne organisatoriese kontekste. Die tesis ontbloot dus die grense van die teorie van ontwrigtende innovasie deur addisionele dimensies wat menslike gedrag in organisasies vorm te beskryf. Oorwegings van identiteit, verbintenis, toewyding, geloofwaardigheid en die gevolge van onderbrekings in projekte is van die singewingsaspekte wat op Christensen se waarnemings oor ontwrigtende innovasie van toepassing gemaak word. Die tesis sluit af deur die implikasies van 'n singewingsperspektief op die studie van gevestigde organisasies en hul potensiële uitdagings in die hantering van ontwrigtende innovasiegedrewe mark veranderinge te beklemtoon. Dus, die posisionering van gevestigde organisasies se uitdagings as 'n singewingsprobleem slaan ook 'n brug tussen die velde van innovasie en singewing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105855
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