How do large corporations manage disruption? The perspective of manufacturing executives in Finland

Arto Wallin, Matti Pihlajamaa, Nando Malmelin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


The article explores what forms of disruption are prioritized by top executives of large manufacturing companies in Finland and what strategies they consider appropriate for the management of disruptive threats and opportunities.

The empirical study was based on interviews with top executives in some of Finland's largest manufacturing companies.

Based on the data, we identify exploitative and explorative strategies in four dimensions that executives consider important in anticipating and responding to disruptions: internal development efforts, stance on new entrants, ecosystems and institutional change. Due to the presence of multiple potential disruptions, which often generate conflicting demands, executives have to consider them simultaneously and balance between them when making strategic decisions. They therefore do not necessarily have a specific response strategy, but their aim is to develop their companies' capabilities so that they are well-placed to face the future with confidence.

The findings indicate that the executives envision a disruption landscape that is more complex than typically described in the literature. In addition, it answers the call for a more systematic understanding of incumbents' response strategies by linking different disciplinary views with well-grounded empirical data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-43
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • manufacturing industries
  • top executives
  • management
  • strategies
  • incumbents
  • disruption, disruptive innovation


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