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Incumbent inertia upon disruptive change in the airline industry: Causal Factors for routine rigidity and top management moderators

  • In the face of disruptive innovations, incumbent firms frequently encounter substantial rigidity in business routines. Our article iestigates the role of top management teams to overcome this inertia. Based on a literature review including strategy, organizational and psychological research fields, we conducted four case studies in the European airline industry and collected data from qualitative interviews with senior executives. As a result, we find new causal factors for routine rigidity in four groups, namely knowledge insufficiencies, inadequate self-concept, inflexibilities and financial concerns. Further, we propose a comprehensive set of top management team characteristics along individual members, team structure and team process, which influence the impact of the identified causal factors to ultimately lower routine rigidity. Our findings uniquely link existing research streams and allow practitioners to better prepare incumbent firms for future disruptive change.

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Document Type:Working Paper
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Strategic Management and Digital Entrepreneurship
Year of Completion:2010
HHL Working Paper 100. Leipzig: HHL – Leipzig Graduate School of Management, 2010