AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Antecedents, Consequences, and Boundary Conditions of Customer Participation in the New Product Development Process

by Todd A Morgan

Institution: Kent State University
Department: College of Business Administration / Department of Marketing
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Marketing; Entrepreneurship; Customer participation; open innovation; new product development; innovation; strategic orientation; market orientation; entrepreneurial orientation; absorptive capacity; new product development performance; innovativeness; organizational reputation
Record ID: 2057942
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=kent1428503582


Research has shown that new product development's (NPD) impact on firm performance is ever important to a firm's competitive position, as it enhances competitive differentiation, establishes entry barriers to markets, and increases revenues and profits (e.g. Cooper 2011; Chen et al. 2010). Technology in today's markets has provided customers with greater information and the ability to communicate with companies on a global scale. With the growing transparency between firms and customers, more firms are utilizing customer participation in the NPD process, a collaborative NPD activity in which customers and firms create new knowledge and value through mutual, ongoing interactions (Blazevic and Lievens 2008). Research has shown that firms that utilize customers in NPD are expected to be more innovative (Fang et al. 2008) and have greater financial performance (Coviello and Joseph 2012). While initial empirical studies seem promising, much work still remains. The majority of research has focused on specific contexts, user groups, and has relied on case studies. This dissertation seeks to expand the nomological net of customer participation in NPD by examining its antecedents, consequences, and boundary conditions of its effectiveness in a more generalized context. While gaining insight from customers may be advantageous to develop new products, firms must be able to internalize the information in order to capitalize on it and must possess the resources and capabilities to maximize its effectiveness. As such, organizational learning theory, the resource based view and its extension, the dynamic capabilities literature, help guide the arguments in this dissertation. This research suggests that not all firms may wish to integrate customers into the NPD process and customer participation's effectiveness may be contingent upon a firm's absorptive capacity  – the ability to acquire, transform, assimilate, and exploit external knowledge and apply it to commercial ends (Zahra and George, 2002; Cohen and Levinthal, 1990), which can enhance NPD performance and the ability to develop meaningful new products.