A Kuhnian Analysis of Revolutionary Digital Disruptions

Kai Riemer, Robert B Johnston

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


    Disruption has become a term of fashion. While overused, disruption refers to an important phenomenon; how certain new technologies bring about profound changes to markets and society, thereby devaluing established business practices. Since the dominant theory, Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation, focuses only on one narrow aspect of the disruption phenomenon, alternative approaches are needed to theorise how digital technologies bring about revolutionary changes to industries and society more broadly. We propose to consider disruption akin to a Kuhnian revolution. By drawing direct parallels between paradigmatic shifts in scientific fields and technology-induced industry disruptions, we come to understand disruption as a shift in understanding that fundamentally alters what counts as customer value or product quality and as a result puts the industry on a new trajectory. We draw on the music industry to illustrate our line of argument.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS 2016)
    Place of PublicationWollongong, NSW, Australia
    PublisherUniversity of Wollongong
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9781741282672
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventAustralasian Conference on Information Systems 2016 - University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
    Duration: 5 Dec 20167 Dec 2016
    Conference number: 27th
    http://acis.aaisnet.org/proceedings/2016.zip (Proceedings)


    ConferenceAustralasian Conference on Information Systems 2016
    Abbreviated titleACIS 2016
    OtherInformation systems (IS) have become an unrecognised commodity – everybody uses them, yet as IS researchers and practitioners we seem to need to explain time and again what we do, what value we provide, and keep justifying our existence.

    ACIS 2016 provides the opportunity to do just that and offers the opportunity how we, as the IS community, take up that challenge.
    Internet address


    • Disruption
    • Innovation
    • Kuhn
    • Paradigm shift
    • Music industry
    • mp3

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