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Organising for disruptive innovation: everyday entrepreneuring efforts at an incumbent technology company

Whitelaw, Lisa (2020) Organising for disruptive innovation: everyday entrepreneuring efforts at an incumbent technology company. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

In an age of disruptions leading organisations need to embrace new ways of working to maintain their competitive advantage. Yet how to do so within the constraints of established business practices remains unclear. In a longitudinal ethnographic case study I investigated in real-time over a period of three years an incumbent organisation’s efforts to organise for disruptive innovation from an organisation-creation perspective. Using a processual, practice-based, engaged scholarship approach, I followed the situated development of six potentially disruptive innovation projects on-the-ground as they unfolded at Thales UK, a leading multinational technology company. As a full member of Thales UK Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI), I observed and contributed directly to the company’s efforts to organise for disruptive innovation from an insider account. I show how the company’s efforts to organise for disruptive innovation interrupted organisational members’ collectively held practical understandings of their work, illuminate how the established organisational arrangement is used in everyday performative efforts to organise for disruptive innovation, and illustrate how the entrepreneurial development of disruptive opportunities over time is both shaped by and impacts on the organisational context they develop within. In a confessional tale I share my experience of studying and contributing to the company’s efforts to organise for disruptive innovation in real-time as a toolkit for other researchers to engage in similar scholar-practitioner collaborative research arrangements. I draw together my findings in a process model of organising for disruptive innovation in an incumbent organisation. I contribute to the disruptive innovation literature a contextually situated understanding of the process of organising for disruptive innovation in an incumbent organisation. In empirically operationalising organisation-creation theory using a processual, practice-based, engaged scholarship approach, I advance research methods for studying innovation processes in real-time and infuse practical understanding and know-how into a mainly theory-driven body of organisation-creation research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Lisa Whitelaw
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Garcia-Lorenzo, Lucia
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/4204

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