Title: Disruptive innovation within a dialectical firm

Authors: Mehran Ebrahimi, W. David Holford

Addresses: Department of Management and Technology, School of Management Sciences, University of Quebec at Montreal, MATEB, 1290 St-Denis, Montreal, Quebec, H2X 3J6, Canada. ' Department of Management and Technology, School of Management Sciences, University of Quebec at Montreal, 315 Saint Catherine Street East, Montreal, Quebec, H2X 3X2, Canada

Abstract: This conceptual paper proposes that Honda|s innovative prowess of producing both radical and disruptive innovations within their aerospace and automotive/pick-up truck development activities can be traced back to its organisational culture of continually embracing opposites or contradiction across dialectical synthesis. It is this synthesis of various |contradictions| or viewpoints that gives the firm and its resulting disruptive innovations the simultaneous characteristic of continuity and novelty. Such a pattern was discerned across a critical hermaneutical analysis of technical reports and second-hand journalistic verbatim related to the development of the HondaJet and Ridgeline; and appears to confirm both Nonaka and Toyama|s thesis of the dialectical firm, as well as Christensen|s thesis of the feasibility of producing distinctive innovations at relatively low costs.

Keywords: dialectical firms; disruptive innovation; knowledge dyads; deductive sense-making; dialectical sense-making; Honda; aerospace industry; automobile industry; automotive development; pick-up trucks; organisational culture; product development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2009.025254

International Journal of Product Development, 2009 Vol.8 No.4, pp.403 - 418

Published online: 18 May 2009 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article