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Resistance to Innovation

Its Sources and Manifestations

Every year, about 25,000 new products are introduced in the United States. Most of these products fail—at considerable expense to the companies that produce them. Such failures are typically thought to result from consumers’ resistance to innovation, but marketers have tended to focus instead on consumers who show little resistance, despite these “early adopters” comprising only 20 percent of the consumer population.

Shaul Oreg and Jacob Goldenberg bring the insights of marketing and organizational behavior to bear on the attitudes and behaviors of the remaining 80 percent who resist innovation. The authors identify two competing definitions of resistance: In marketing, resistance denotes a reluctance to adopt a worthy new product, or one that offers a clear benefit and carries little or no risk. In the field of organizational behavior, employees are defined as resistant if they are unwilling to implement changes regardless of the reasons behind their reluctance. Seeking to clarify the act of rejecting a new product from the reasons—rational or not—consumers may have for doing so, Oreg and Goldenberg propose a more coherent definition of resistance less encumbered by subjective, context-specific factors and personality traits. The application of this tighter definition makes it possible to disentangle resistance from its sources and ultimately offers a richer understanding of consumers’ underlying motivations. This important research is made clear through the use of many real-life examples.

208 pages | 18 halftones, 13 line drawings, 23 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2015

Economics and Business: Business--Business Economics and Management Studies, Business--Industry and Labor

Psychology: Personnel and Industrial Psychology

Sociology: Occupations, Professions, Work


"Just creating blockbuster ideas is not enough. Innovators today have to harness, manage, and overcome the inevitable resistance that stems from new ideas. Oreg and Goldenberg show in this fascinating and revealing book what really holds innovation back."

Drew Boyd, University of Cincinnati

“Fascinating read. Oreg and Goldenberg’s choice of well-known examples (e.g., the history of search engines and Apple) provides a compelling case for viewing the majority of consumers not as lacking innovativeness, but instead as possessing varying degrees of resistance. The real-world examples are supported by a review of a diverse range of scientific research, making this an interesting and useful read for entrepreneurs, product managers, researchers, and people who are generally interested in understanding the behavior of the majority of consumers.”

Mel Fugate, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

“Thousands of new products debut annually. Most are unsuccessful, wasting money and other resources. Researchers have traditionally focused on successful products, but Oreg and Goldenberg point out that concentrating solely on successful innovations can lead to inaccurate conclusions and missed opportunities. Accordingly, Oreg and Goldenberg explore the failed majority and why consumers balked at or rejected them, cautioning that resistance does not necessarily result in product failure. . . . Recommended.”


Table of Contents


Part I: Sources of Resistance
Chapter 1. It’s Not the Innovation, It’s the Adopter: Why Some People Are More Likely Than Others to Resist 
Chapter 2. What’s in It for Me, and What Do I Have to Lose? Practical Reasons for Resisting Innovation 
Chapter 3. It’s Not What You Introduce, It’s How You Do It: The Process of Innovation Introduction 
Chapter 4. Where and When Is the Innovation Introduced? The Role of Innovation Context in the Emergence of Resistance 

Part II: Resistance Manifestations
Chapter 5. Lagging—Innovation in Disguise 
Chapter 6. Resistance and the Dangers of Negative Word of Mouth 
Chapter 7. The Dual Market Effect 


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