PhD conferral Alexander L. Schmidt




Managing in the face of disruption: how do companies manage business model innovation along the process of disruptive innovation?

Alexander L. Schmidt

prof. dr. P.C. van der Sijde & prof. dr. habil. T. Baaken

Amsterdam Institute of Molecular and Life Sciences


PhD conferral

In a world of continuous change, companies’ conventional modes of doing business are being disturbed at an ever-increasing pace. Hence, scholars from the innovation and management domains are discussing innovation-induced market changes. The concept of disruptive innovation captures a portion of these changes. Disruptive innovation describes how new entrants gain a foothold in a niche market before moving upmarket and challenging powerful incumbents. From its emergence in the mid-1990s, the concept of disruptive innovation was first theorised with a focus on technology. Since 2006, the debate has shifted focus, and the business model is acknowledged as the decisive vehicle that spurs related market dynamics.

Given the complexity of disruptive innovation, this thesis builds on multiple theoretical streams to further extend our understanding of companies’ strategic management choices in the face of disruptive innovation. An integration of elements from business model innovation, strategic alliances, platform development and growth, and dynamic capabilities enables a complementary picture of the levels of disruptive innovation. This research is guided by the following question: ‘how do companies manage business model innovation along the process of disruptive innovation?’ Following a sequential mixed methods approach, this research uses publications, interview data, archival data, and survey data.

This thesis explores under-theorised facets of the disruptive innovation phenomenon while supporting attempts to generalise more established theoretical statements further. In addition to contributing to the construction of a theory of disruptive innovation, the thesis delivers prescriptive guidelines for corporate managers and entrepreneurs on how to manage business model innovation. This work thus paves the way for further studies on disruptive innovation, ultimately fostering this emerging intellectual field.

Alexander Schmidt