The Search for Survival

Lessons from Disruptive Technologies

by Henry C. Lucas, Jr.


Who could have imagined that hugely successful and profitable companies like Kodak, Blockbuster, and Borders as well as well-established entities such as the U.S. Postal Service and the New York Stock Exchange could lose market share and be threatened with extinction? These are but a few of the examples of the firms that responded poorly respond to a disruptive technology.

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Cover image for The Search for Survival

June 2012


Pages 243
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Business/Strategy

Ideal for business students, business managers, and corporate senior executives, this book distills the lessons learned from the disasters that have befallen companies that were unable to cope with disruptive technologies.

In recent decades, technology has changed rapidly to the point that it can very quickly affect a seemingly impregnable company or industry. Unexpected technological developments enable innovators to offer new products and services that threaten incumbents. In order to survive, existing firms must be able to see a disruption on the horizon and figure out how to respond.

The Search for Survival: Lessons from Disruptive Technologies examines organizations that failed to develop a strategy for coping with a technological disruption and have suffered greatly or even gone out of business. The first chapter presents a model of how firms can respond to and hopefully survive a disruptive technology. Each following chapter focuses on firms that have failed to survive or whose future is in doubt, accompanied by an extensive, detailed discussion of the lessons learned from each company or field's failings, covering examples from industries such as recorded music, book publishing, video, newspaper, and higher education.


  • Provides examples of companies and industries that will be familiar to all readers
  • Utilizes a straightforward model of the survival process that guides the chapter discussion in which companies and industries are given a score based on the factors in the model
  • Provides a discussion of "Making and Executing Tough Management Decisions" (METD) that applies to each company or industry
Author Info

Henry C. Lucas, Jr., PhD, is Robert H. Smith Professor of Information Systems at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has previously been on the faculty at New York University and Stanford University. He obtained his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his master's degree and doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His published works include Praeger's Inside the Future: Surviving the Technology Revolution and Beware the Winner's Curse: Victories That Can Sink You and Your Company.

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