Adolf Alfred Taubman


Adolf Alfred Taubman was an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, known for conceptualizing the modern shopping malls. He pioneered the concept of shopping mall, an emerging trend in the global arena. The combination of his brilliance and sincerity shaped the emergence of shopping centers around the world. His imaginative vision transformed many lives along with his own; his is the story of a man who rose from rags to riches. Born to a low class immigrant family, he started working at a young age alongside receiving his education. He developed his sophisticated sense of design and space during his architectural studies. He started from a small real estate development firm and through his insight in merchandising and retailing, he became a shopping mall magnate, with an enormous enterprise under his name which is worth billions of dollars. In 1950, he started his own real estate development company, the Taubman Company. His first project was designing a freestanding bridal shop in Detroit and the company soon flourished and they started working on larger retail projects and hotels. He incorporated his ideas to build incredible retail stores, hotels, enclosed malls and shopping centers all around the world. In 2007, he published his autobiography, ‘Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer” which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. Apart from being a successful businessman, he was also a leading philanthropist who donated large sums of money for various health, education and art causes. His generous contributions supported various medical researches and helped in imparting education to several underprivileged sections of the society. He was a man of immense dedication towards his work and his life journey is an inspiration for everyone.

Alfred’s theory of “Threshold Resistance” provides a very deep and powerful insight into innovation theory in general and offers a fascinating perspective that can help influence the application of Professor Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation Theory across many disciplines, domains and contexts and how to break down emotional, psychological, political and economic barriers: the resistance to the customer to go over the threshold. By moving the threshold out to the mall line, you get the merchandise close to the customer, so the customer has the opportunity of buying it. We recognize Alfred and the importance of his theory articulated in “Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer.”


Angela Brugioni