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Analysing disruptive potential: the case of wireless local area network and mobile communications network companies

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Abstract:

In this article, we analyse the prediction that wireless local area network (W-LAN) technologies will be disruptive for incumbent mobile communications network operators. For this purpose, we develop a methodology of guided interviews to assess technologies for their disruptive characteristics based on theory of disruptive technology developed by Christensen (1997) and recent extensions. The application of our comprehensive step-by-step method improves the precision of the disruptive technology concept and its usability for practitioners to make ex ante distinctions between disruptive technologies and other phenomena caused by emerging technologies. Our method predicts that contrary to common assumptions, W-LAN is not likely to represent a disruptive technology for the established mobile communications network firms in terms of Christensen's concept. This research was conducted in close collaboration with Vodafone Pilotentwicklung, an R&D and technology monitoring unit of the Vodafone Group. Vodafone provided part of the empirical data through expert interviews and market reports.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2005.00369.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Innovation and Technology Management, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany.  , Email: stefan.huesig@wiwi.uni-regensburg.de 2: Vodafone Pilotentwicklung GmbH, Vodafone Group R&D Germany, Chiemgaustraße 116, 81549 München, Germany.  , Email: christiane.hipp@v-pe.de 3: Department of Innovation and Technology Management, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany.  , Email: michael.dowling@wiwi.uni-regensburg.de

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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