A configurational theory of digital disruption

Feb 20th, 2024 | By | Category: RSS Feed


Digital Disruption (DD) has become a hot topic in recent years, yet detailed research is surprisingly lacking. The literature offers almost no insights into how DD occurs at the industry level and what industry factors influence it. This paper advances knowledge of DD by developing and testing a configurational theory. Using a multi-method research design, we identify two types of DD and four industry factors (downstream DD, digitally enabled structural conflict, transferability of core competitive elements, and industry player size) that contingently lead to the different types of DD. We integrate those findings into a configurational theory that describes causal recipes of how these factors or conditions combine to produce the outcome of transformational DD and destructive DD. The theory offers important implications for researchers and practitioners. The research also contributes methodologically by demonstrating the merits of combining grounded theory with qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to expand the theory-building potential of QCA.


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