Week 7 DB: Disruptive Technology

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Consider the following scenario:

Bill is a manager at a midsize personal computer manufacturer offering customers desktops and laptops. He has watched the recent, rapid rise of tablet computers with some concern. Initially, tablets introduced to the market had limited functionality and poor-quality graphics. They posed little threat to the personal computer market. Soon, however, big name companies set their sights on perfecting the tablet. Producers of tablets are now making big profits. More and more consumers are choosing to make their next computer a tablet. Bill worries about his company’s ability to enter the tablet market, and he does not want to be left behind when and if the tablet replaces other types of personal computers.

This scenario illustrates the capacity of new technology to spur economic and social change.

This week you will explore this phenomenon in depth as you discuss disruptive technology theory as it relates to the case study of Netflix. You will also take the next step in your doctoral journey by making a first attempt at choosing a research topic.

Learning Objectives

Independent scholars will:
  • Evaluate the impact of disruptive technology on a business
  • Develop strategies for benefiting from or surviving disruptive technology in a business
  • Formulate a topical business problem for doctoral research
  • Discussion: Disruptive Technology: Netflix Case Study

    Technology is constantly changing and, in turn, can help leaders promote widespread social and economic change. For example, Mattox (2013) pointed out that if 3D-printing technology were to become available and accepted by the masses, it could dramatically shift control of consumer production, resulting in a significant economic and social change. Consumers could then theoretically manufacture everything from lifesaving medicines to high-grade weaponry. Is such technological change desirable or detrimental?Given the potential of technological change to generate economic upheaval, it should be no surprise that the question of whether technological change is desirable has garnered attention in the business research community. Theories have emerged to explain the development and diffusion of technological changes—and the theory of disruptive innovation is among the most influential. Since its introduction by Clayton Christensen in the mid-1990s, the theory has raised considerable debate. Topics of debate include how to define disruptive innovation and technology; when and why it occurs; and how to predict, survive, or promote it. As the pace of technological change accelerates, business professionals have given increased attention to this field of research and the impact of disruptive technology. In this Discussion, you will consider the case of Netflix.To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources concerning disruptive technology and disruptive innovation. Read the case study “The Rise and Fall of Netflix: What Happened and Where Will It Go From Here?” and consider Netflix’s role as a disruptive innovation or technology that is now being threatened by the disruptive technology of its competitors. Netflix’s leaders are facing many challenges as they consider the global market. Put yourself in the intern Chris’s position, and think about how you, as a global change agent, would advise the company’s leaders.

    By Day 3

    Post an analysis of the impact of disruptive technology on Netflix, with your own prognosis for this business. Your analysis should be structured as follows:

    • Summarize the challenges Netflix is facing, as detailed in the case study.
    • Evaluate whether disruptive technology has a primarily positive or negative impact on Netflix’s challenges. Provide a rationale.
    • In line with your argument, identify whom disruptive technology benefits and whom it adversely affects.
    • Develop two strategies for either surviving or taking advantage of disruptive technology.
    • Support your post with data and information from the Learning Resources and at least one peer-reviewed article or journal of your choice.

    Be sure to support your work with a minimum of two specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and one or more additional scholarly sources.

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