In technology management, discontinuity refers to the remarkable positive inventions and advancements of a technological function characterizing an industry or sector that dominate prior technologies leading to improvements and creative disruption or destruction. Examples of discontinuity include cellular telephones that have completely displaced land line technologies, online and mobile banking that has rendered a majority of physical institutions less important, and the replacement of the postal mail by the internet and other modern delivery systems.
The TOE theory explains how technological, organizational, and environmental contexts of a firm influence the decisions on adoption.
Nokia failed because it lacked innovative leadership in its industry, lost its agility, and saw its excessive growth rate as invincibility in the technology industry. In terms of technology, the internal and external technologies relevant to Nokia were available, yet under-utilized. In the organizational context, the size, structure, and resources available to Nokia were unmatched at the time, yet were incorrectly focused on further expansion relating to the technology of the time. What really caused the fall of Nokia was the environmental context relating to the structure and size of the technology industry and the competitors. Nokia was unable to leverage its technological and organizational advantages to create an opportunity for the environmental context leading to failure to adapt to changing industry trends.
Kodak failed because of the immense success it had enjoyed over time leading to a product oriented structure instead of a focus on the needs of the consumer. The success that Kodak saw at the time made the organization resistant to change. The TOE framework points to the need to keep innovation at the top of an organization. Kodak had a large organization structure with immense resources, yet could not adapt to new technologies and environmental trends that were quickly moving to the digital space. Kodak’s rigidity to adapt new technology and the decision not to follow the competition cost the company its name and brand.
HD-DVD failed because the competition, Sony’s Blu-Ray, leverage its organizational strength including the firm’s size, centralization, band name, and resources to convince movie makers and film studios to use the Blu Ray format to release movies. Sony used its large organizational resources to dictate technological movement and environmental trends by getting Warner Brothers to exclusively adopt Blu Ray, a strength that Toshiba’s HD-DVD lacked. Blu Ray’s strategy was aggressive in terms of using its large organizational context to support the technological and environmental aspects.
One of the reasons why the healthcare industry is slow to adopt innovations is because of the act that barriers digital technologies facing patients are incomparable to barriers in other sectors. In essence, people prefer to be treated by other people as opposed to AI generated healthcare. It is also true that software fail may have severe outcomes compared to other workplaces. The technological context of the healthcare industry does not match any other including the need for discontinuity and creative disruptions. The organizational context means that hospitals are slow to adopt changes because of the risk issues and compliance requirements. In terms of the environmental context, it is safer for the competition and other external players in the industry to adopt technologies that have been certified and approved, leading to slower response and adoption times.
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