Inflection points and industry change: Was Andy Grove right after all?



Fred Phillips, G. George Hwang and Pornpimol Limprayoon


We examine whether the ‘strategic inflection points’ described by former Intel CEO Andy Grove correspond to mathematical inflection points in the product/technology life cycle. We find one sense in which they do and two senses in which they do not. This leads to a mapping of colloquial uses of inflection point, tipping point, volatility, chaos, and turbulence against the scientific definitions of these terms. The mapping should be of use to researchers and educators, and also suggests to managers that the possibility of foresight and control in technology-dependent industries is more sharply limited than generally believed. The paper highlights implications for organizational sustainability and offers possible coping mechanisms for managers and directions for educators and researchers.


Inflection points; resistance to change; technology forecasting; innovation adoption; change management.


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RNI Registration No. CHAENG/2016/68678