Is there innovation in the K-pop industry? A theoretical perspective

Jangwoo Lee, Lynn Pyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a novel theoretical perspective which views the K-pop industry through the lens of M-ies model. To date, the innovative aspects of K-pop have been largely neglected by business scholarship, in part due to the inadequacies of the existing theories to capture the dynamic nature of its development. To fill this gap, M-ies model is devised. It posits that innovators (i) were critical in creating a sustained level of innovative momentum (M), as they implemented strategies (s) to respond to the external environment (e). Using the M-ies model, we also explain how an intriguing parallel can be drawn between a seemingly unlikely pair, the K-pop and the semiconductor industry. In so doing, we point to the significance of producer-innovators, and how private sector–in particular, SM Entertainment as the first mover–was the main agent of creative destruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1447
Number of pages23
JournalAsia Pacific Business Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • K-pop industry
  • M-ies model
  • South Korea
  • catch-up
  • creative destruction
  • innovation


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