Market innovation: A literature review and new research directions

Sprong, Niels; Driessen, Paul; Hillebrand, Bas and Molner, Sven. 2021. Market innovation: A literature review and new research directions. Journal of Business Research, 123, pp. 450-462. ISSN 0148-2963 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Over the past three decades, a rapidly expanding academic literature has investigated how new markets are created and how existing markets are transformed, phenomena this article refers to as “market innovation”. The literature on market innovation is currently fragmented and characterized by heterogeneity of terminology, theoretical paradigms, and empirical research settings. The purpose of this article is to map the field, identify distinct research clusters, and uncover shifts in the literature’s underpinning conceptual perspectives. Specifically, using bibliometric mapping, the article identifies six clusters of market innovation research. Further analysis reveals three major shifts in the literature over time: (1) a shift from reductionism to emergence, (2) a shift from central agency to distributed agency, and (3) a shift from linearity to non-linearity. To advance the understanding of all three shifts and move theory development forward, complexity theory offers a valuable meta-theoretical framework. Future research directions are derived from complexity theory.

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Additional Information:

This research was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, grant number 438-14-902.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


24 September 2020Accepted
17 October 2020Published Online
February 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

19 Oct 2020 10:49

Last Modified:

28 Apr 2022 12:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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