"Strategies for Survival in Fast-Changing Industries"

Management Science, vol. 44(12, part 2 of 2), 1998, with Clayton Christensen and James Utterback

Technology strategy variables tend to predominate as predictors of survival in the fast changing rigid disk drive industry. Building on these previous studies, we here test the hypothesis that the technological and market strategies of a new entrant are highly interrelated and that their joint effect plays an important role in a firm's probability of survival. In particular, we propose that firms that target new market segments with an architectural innovation will tend to be more successful than those that target existing markets or innovate in component technology, even after controlling for all the competing predictors of survival. This paper advances the existing literature on innovation by tracing the main technical elements of a dominant design in the rigid disk drive industry over time, and provides a much more rigorous definition of the concept of a dominant design than we have had in the past. We find the notion of first-mover advantage is not applicable in the rigid disk drive industry. Instead, we propose the idea of an entry-window tightly linked to the emergence of the dominant product design as defined.

Read Full Text