In 2005 I started reading about Clayton Christensen's theory of Disruptive Technology and became interested in how it explains events shaping academic libraries (and other types of libraries, for that matter) and higher education in general. This page offers a running bibliography of works by Christensen and others focused on this topic.

If you're just starting in this area, I'd recommend first reading Lafferty's and Lewis' work as they both explore the underlying premise of the theories from an academia or academic library mindset. (To dive right in, you may want to start with the 2-hour audio book version of Christensen's first work. That is how I started and I found it to be a remarkably gentle yet powerful introduction to his concepts.)

If you find anything else along these lines, please let me know -- I'd like to keep growing this bibliography. Also note that a more comprehensive list can be found in a Zotero library on Christensen in Higher Education.

Christensen, Clayton M. The Innovator's Dilemma. HarperBusiness Essentials (1998, 2000). ISBN: 0060521996.

Christensen, Clayton M., Sally Aaron, and William Clark. Disruption in Education. From the Forum for the Future of Higher Education (2001). Available online at

Christensen, Clayton. Improving Higher Education through Disruption. Forum Futures 2002. Available online at

The impact on higher education in Christensen's own words -- take care if forwarding this to deans of business schools.

Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor. The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth. Harvard Business School Press (September 2003). ISBN: 1578518520.

Christensen, Clayton M., Scott D. Anthony, and Erik A. Roth. Seeing What's Next : Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change. Harvard Business School Press (2004). ISBN: 1591391857.

Christensen Clayton M., Cook S, Hall T. Marketing malpractice - The cause and the cure. Harvard Business Review 83(12): 74-83. Dec 2005. Available online through the OhioLINK link resolver.

Christensen, C., Baumann, H., Ruggles, R., & Sadtler, T. (2006). Disruptive Innovation for Social Change. Harvard Business Review. 84(12): 94-101. Dec 2006. Available online through the OhioLINK link resolver.

Anderson, Kent R. From Paper to Electron: How an STM Journal Can Survive the Disruptive Technology of the Internet. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 7(3): 234-245. May-Jun 2000. Available online at

Lafferty, Susana; Edwards, Jenny. Disruptive technologies: what future universities and their libraries? Library Management 25(6-7): 252-258. 2004. Links to entry in the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center and OCLC Worldwide Library Registry.

Sustaining and Disruptive technologies from a higher-education holistic view as well as academic libraries.

Lewis, David W. "The Innovator's Dilemma": Disruptive Change and Academic Libraries. Library Administration & Management 18(2):68-74. Spring 2004. Available online at

Focused on academic libraries.

Lewis, David W. Disruptive Innovation and the Academic Library. Presentation to OhioLINK Library Directors, 17-Mar-2006. Available online at

David Lewis, Director of the Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis Library, extends his work in exploring “Disruptive Innovation and the Academic Library” with this PowerPoint presentation from a retreat of Ohio academic library directors. I recommend it as a gentle visual introduction to the application of Clayton Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovations to the field of academic libraries.

McGregor, J. Clayton Christensen's Innovation Brain. Business Week. Retrieved June 19, 2007, from

Technorati iconAlso take a look at the Clayton Christensen tag on Technorati for blog postings with commentary on the theory of disruptive innovation.

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The text was modified to update a link from to on August 22nd, 2012.