Raja Roy is an assistant professor in innovation and entrepreneurship. His research explores the role of firm-level capabilities, such as access to complementary technologies and in-house users, during technological change in high-tech industries. He is one of the highest published researchers in the world in the field of disruptive change. His research on technological disruption in machine tools, industrial robotics, and image sensors has been published (or is forthcoming) in Strategic Management Journal, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Research Policy, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Advances in Strategic Management, and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. He is currently exploring the evolution of space travel. His dissertation on machine tools was supported by a $60,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
Areas of Expertise (11)
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Technological Change and Innovation
Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator Award (professional)
Awarded to Professor Roy for his work in teaching graduate-level entrepreneurship courses.
University of Pittsburgh: PhD, Strategic Management 2003
Jadavpur University: BE, Production Engineer 1991
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade: MIB, International Business 1995
Event Appearances (6)
Incubation of Innovation Ecosystem in Charge-Coupled Device Image Sensors: 1969-1994
Industry Studies Conference Seattle, Washington
Genesis of Pre-Commercialization Innovation Ecosystem: Knowledge Recombination in the Pre-Commercialization Phase of Charge-Coupled Device Image Sensors: 1969-1994
Wharton Technology Conference Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Resolution of Uncertainties in the Incubation Phase: Case Study of the Space Shuttle
University of Wisconsin Research Seminar Series Madison, Wisconsin
When Dinosaurs Fly: The Role of Firm Capabilities in the 'Avianization' of Incumbents During Disruptive Technological Change
Strategic Management Society Annual Conference Houston, Texas
When does Disruption Create Opportunities for Entrepreneurs? Choice vs. ability
StartUp El Salvador Conference San Salvador, El Salvador
Nuanced Role of Relevant Prior Experience: Sales Takeoff of Disruptive Products and Product Innovation with Disrupted Technology in Industrial Robotics
Advances in Strategic Management Research Workshop, MIT Sloan School of Management Boston, Massachusetts
Research Focus (1)
From machine tooling to image sensor research, Professor Roy looks at and evaluates technology disruptions in a wide-array of industries.
Research Grants (1)
Incumbent Resurgence: Lessons from the U.S. Machine Tool Industry, 1975-2000
National Science Foundation $59,772
This proposal seeks to examine the adaptation of firms in the U.S. machine tool industry to changes in their environment, to understand the factors affecting firms' capability to transition to computer-numerically controlled designs and modular production techniques, as well as more extended relationships with customers required by this equipment. Many U.S. manufacturers lacked the skills to respond, and as a result employment in the industry and its importance to the domestic economy was substantially reduced. Nevertheless, other firms not only survived but thrived in the changed environment. This study will trace the responses of U.S. machine tool incumbents to the technological and market challenges facing the industry between 1975 and 2000 to discern the differences between failing and surviving firms.
Fearlessly Swimming Upstream to Risky Waters: The Role of Geographic Entry in InnovationJournal of Managment Studies
Curba Morris Lampert, Minyoung Kim, Timothy David Hubbard, Raja Roy, George Leckie
2018 We examine the puzzling geographic pattern that shows firms entering countries with weak intellectual property rights (IPR) protection with their research and development (R&D) activities. Geographic entry into weak IPR protection countries is at odds with conventional wisdom as such an environment erodes a firm's ability to appropriate from its innovations. We offer that while the well‐established practice of spreading out a firm's value chain activities across a region has important implications for value creation, what remains unaddressed is the value appropriation aspect of such activities...
Role of relevant lead users of mainstream product in the emergence of disruptive innovationTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
2018 We combine insights received from prior research on the role of lead user and prior investigations of disruptive innovation. Our research illustrates the role of a particular lead user, which we refer to as the relevant lead user, in paving the way for the potentially disruptive technology to be a definitely disruptive one. Through focused consideration, we reveal characteristics that may be significant in identifying users as relevant in relation to potentially disruptive innovation...
When dinosaurs fly: The role of firm capabilities in the ‘avianization’ of incumbents during disruptive technological changeStrategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Raja Roy, Curba Morris Lampert, Irina Stoyneva
2017 Prior research suggests that large incumbents will become victims of disruptive technological change. We investigate the image sensor industry in which the emergence of CMOS sensors challenged the manufacturers of CCD sensors. Although this disruptive technological change led to the demise of CCD technology, it also led to avianization—or strategic renewal—for some incumbents, similar to how some dinosaurs survived the mass Cretaceous‐Tertiary extinction by evolving into birds...
Knowledge, firm boundaries, and innovation: Mitigating the incumbent's curse during radical technological changeStrategic Management Journal
Raja Roy, MB Sarkar
2016 We explore the relationship between a firm's organization and its ability to face a radical technological change. We suggest that, during such a change, the presence of both in‐house upstream knowledge and downstream market linkages, within a firm's boundary, has its advantages. We test our predictions in the context of the robotics industry where manufacturers of mechanically controlled “brawny” robots, which were valued mainly for their payload capacity, faced the advent of electrically controlled “brainy” robots that emphasized accuracy and repeatability. We find that “preadapted” firms—the ones with prior relevant technological knowledge and with access to internal users of “brainy” robots—were the innovation leaders in the emerging new technology but were laggards in the old technology.
Disruption in the US machine tool industry: The role of inhouse users and pre-disruption component experience in firm responseResearch Policy
Raja Roy, Susan K Cohen
2015 We investigated how incumbent differences affect their response to a disruptive change and found that incumbents with access to inhouse knowledge that helps them understand “what to develop and design” and “how to do it,” are likely to be the leaders in matching the performance features in a disruptive product. We used the advent of machine tools with disruptive Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology as the context and concentrated on the transition period when the machine tool demand was shifting from customized machine tools with mechanical controls to standardized machine tools with CNCs. We found that incumbents with access to inhouse users and broad pre-disruption component experience were the leaders in matching the agility of the disruptive products. Our findings suggest that the boundary conditions for the theory of disruption is more nuanced than what the literature predicts.