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Disruptive technologies, stakeholders and the innovation value-added chain: a framework for evaluating radical technology development

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Contemporary frameworks for evaluating technological innovations contend that innovative success is dependent upon the ability of firms to acquire and assimilate new knowledge without disrupting value chain members such as suppliers, customers and complementary innovators. These frameworks, however, provide little advice on how to deal with radical, controversial innovations that may also introduce new undesirable environmental, health, and social side affects. In addition to technological, commercial and organisational uncertainties, the developers of such technology typically must resolve social uncertainties, a particularly difficult activity because of the added complexities and often conflicting and/or difficult-to-reconcile concerns from secondary stakeholders. Attempts must be made to address the potential unintended and unforeseen consequences of the technology, as well as its potential benefits, if it is to be successfully applied. Using Monsanto's development of agricultural biotechnology as an illustration, we suggest an evaluation framework that incorporates stakeholder theory, innovation management concepts and Popper's evolutionary learning methodology of science and its extension to social issues.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada. , Email: 2: University of Exeter, Exeter, UK. , Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2005


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