Cover of Lead and Disrupt by Charles A. O’Reilly III and Michael L. Tushman
Lead and Disrupt
How to Solve the Innovator's Dilemma, Second Edition
Charles A. O’Reilly III and Michael L. Tushman


September 2021
312 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503629523


Excerpts and More

Fully revised, this second edition offers a proven strategy for using ambidexterity to build discontinuous growth for mature organizations, and the flexibility to adapt in fast-changing environments.

Why do successful firms find it so difficult to adapt in the face of change – to innovate? In the past ten years, the importance of this question has increased as more industries and firms confront disruptive change. The pandemic has accelerated this crisis, collapsing the structures of industries from airlines and medicine to online retail and commercial real estate. Today, leaders in business have an obligation not only to investors but to their employees and communities. At the core of this challenge is helping their organizations to survive in the face of change.

The original edition summarized the lessons that the authors as researchers and consultants had learned over the previous two decades. Since then, they have continued to work with leaders of organizations around the world confronting disruptive change. With updates to every chapter, including new examples and analysis, this fully revised edition incorporates the lessons and insights that the authors have gained in the past five years. Two new chapters critically examine the role of organizational culture in promoting or hindering ambidexterity and its underlying fundamental disciplines. Using examples from firms such as Microsoft, General Motors, and Amazon, O'Reilly and Tushman illustrate how leaders can align their organization's cultures to fit the needed strategy, and how ideation, incubation, and scaling approaches, when used altogether, can successfully develop new growth businesses.

About the authors

Charles A. O'Reilly III is Frank E. Buck Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also the co-director of Leading Change and Organizational Renewal. His research spans studies of leadership, organizational demography and diversity, culture, executive compensation, and organizational innovation and change. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Academy of Management and the Organizational Behavior Division Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Michael L. Tushman is Baker Foundation Professor, Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, and Charles B. (Tex) Thorton Chair of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. His research focuses on senior teams, strategic innovation and change, organizational identity, firm strategy, open innovation and organizational boundaries, and strategic paradox.

"This new edition reveals the the how and why of ambidextrous leadership and the power of company culture as competitive advantage. A must-read for every leader aiming to build an enduring enterprise."

—Erik Ceuppens, Marlink Group CEO