Nuanced role of relevant prior experience: Sales takeoff of disruptive products and product innovation with disrupted technology in industrial robotics

Raja Roy, Mazhar Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


We investigate product innovation by a cohort of entrants who use technology that eventually suffers disruption. We concentrate on two types of entrants - those with and those without relevant prior experience in the disrupted technology. Using the industrial robotics industry as the context of our study, we explore product innovation using disrupted technology during two time periods: the first prior to sales takeoff of the disruptive products and the second subsequent to takeoff. We find that the two types of entrants did not differ in product innovation prior to takeoff, but firms with prior experience in the disrupted technology manufactured more innovative products subsequent to the sales takeoff of disruptive products. Our research underscores that the boundary conditions of the utility of prior experience is more nuanced than that which literature suggests - it affects product innovation only in the post-sales takeoff period when the demand uncertainties are relatively low. Our findings also suggest that the boundary conditions of Christensen's thesis are narrower than predicted by prior literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-111
Number of pages31
JournalAdvances in Strategic Management
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


  • Prior experience
  • Product innovation
  • Technological disruption

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