This study examines the influence of environmental, organizational, and managerial characteristics on discontinuous innovation across three industries (aerospace, electronic components, and telecommunications) that are highly dependent upon innovation for survival and competitive advantage. The authors randomly mailed survey questionnaires to 900 chief executive officers located across the U.S. and obtained quantitative data from 192 individuals. To validate these results, they conducted structured follow-up interviews of 25 executives. The findings suggest that discontinuous innovation increases with environmental dynamism and that structure and processes (intrafirm linkages, experimentation and transitioning, or sequencing from one product/project/program to another) contribute to discontinuous innovation. These results suggest that top managers are active, not passive, in influencing discontinuous innovation within their organizations.
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