انگیزاننده های یکپارچه سازی مشتری مجازی در توسعه تجهیزات پزشکی - دیدگاه یک تولید کننده و یک کاربر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|20932||2010||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 8, November 2010, Pages 1376–1383
Virtual customer integration (VCI) involves customers throughout all stages of the new product development process. Firms across industries have started to experiment with virtual user integration and expect to utilize their knowledge, creativity, and judgment. However, little research exists that looks at the motivations of customers and managers to engage in virtual product development projects. In this paper we try to identify the triggers for virtual customer integration (VCI) from the manager's as well as from the customer's perspective. Using Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior we aim at explaining managers' motivation for the adoption of VCI based on a sample of 104 managers engaged in the product development process of manufacturing firms of medical technology. Drawing on motive research, we test six categories of customer motivations to engage in VCI projects on a sample of 105 users of medical technology. The results show that for mangers subjective norms and attitude predict the intention to use VCI. For customers, interest in innovation and product improvement are the most important drivers, whereas monetary compensation and prestige are not significant, and surprisingly the desire to help people even has a negative impact on the participation of VCI.
Product innovation is a key success factor for industrial firms (Hult, Hurley, & Knight, 2004). Recent literature has widely addressed the importance of customer integration in product development and numerous aspects of customer interaction in collaborative new product development of industrial firms have been discussed (e.g. Bonner, 2005, Bonner, 2009 and Lam and Chin, 2005). Customers' wants and needs, as well as their acquired knowledge through the actual use of products, make them an essential external resource for new product development (NPD) (Thomke and von Hippel, 2002 and von Hippel, 2005). As the Internet lowers the cost of employing large samples of customers (Dahan and Srinivasan, 2000 and Iansiti and MacCormack, 1997) and allows instantaneous feedback from customers all over the world, new possibilities for customer integration into NPD arise (Dahan & Hauser, 2002; N. Franke and Piller, 2004, Nambisan, 2002, Ozer, 2003 and Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004). Whereas the possibilities to integrate customers into NPD via the internet have been studied from a variety of aspects in consumer goods markets, empirical research on the application of VCI for industrial goods markets is still in a nascent state (Hemetsberger & Godula, 2007). VCI is a promising idea and offers new opportunities to improve customer integration in NPD in a business market context. Its diffusion however is still very limited and little research exists that explains the adoption of VCI in business markets. VCI can only be successfully implemented if companies are able to access motivated customers that are willing to participate in virtual NPD projects. The customers' willingness and ability to contribute to NPD is of central importance. Companies willing to integrate them and to capture their knowledge, their ideas and solutions, must understand what motivates these customers and which incentives increase the likelihood of valuable contributions. Whereas some studies in a consumer market context address such questions, little is known about motivations of customers in a business-to-business context. Therefore, another lack of research lies in the identification of customers' motivations to engage in VCI. With our research we aim to contribute to the understanding of the diffusion of VCI in practice, and to reveal the triggers for VCI implementation from the managers' perspective as well as from the view of integrated customers in the context of industrial goods markets. As a research setting, medical technology has been chosen, which has been described as a highly product embedded environment in a business-to-business context (Bonner, 2009). Product embeddedness has been defined as “the degree to which the product impacts how customers perform important functions, influences significant customer processes, requires customer effort in learning the product, creates customer dependencies on the product, and influences customers' policies and procedures” (Bonner, 2009, p 4). The contribution of this paper is threefold. First, as one of the first studies to do so, we quantitatively test customers' motivations to participate in a VCI project of NPD in a highly product embedded business-to-business context. The results show that in the business-to-business context it is also not the monetary reward but intrinsic motives that are the primary triggers leading customers to contribute. Second, we study the managers' intentions to introduce VCI in their firms by applying Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991). A third contribution lies in the extension of TPB and motive research on virtual customer integration to a new context, thereby expanding the theory to a new domain.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
With this study we aimed at explaining the diffusion of VCI in business markets from a manager's and from the customer's perspective. The first research question of our study relates to the manager adoption of VCI. To study the manager's intention to use VCI, Ajzen's (1991) theory of planned behavior was used as a framework. This theory was considered especially suitable as it has been widely accepted to predict behavior in a variety of settings and has also been used to explain managers' behavior and their adoption of new concepts and systems (Ajzen, 1993, Armitage and Conner, 2001 and Godin and Kok, 1996). According to this theory, it was hypothesized that the three antecedents attitudes (hypothesis 1), subjective norms (hypothesis 2), and perceived behavioral control (hypothesis 3) play a role in the manager's intention to use VCI. With the exception of perceived behavioral control, the hypotheses were confirmed. For managers who wish to implement VCI in their firms the results indicate that it is most important to hold a VCI-friendly attitude at all levels so that the product development staff is encouraged to try these methods. As the subjective norms-component turned out to be the most influential factor for introducing VCI in manufacturing firms, management must state explicitly that such initiatives would be appreciated. Therefore linkages to the career tracks might be fostering VCI implementation. Furthermore, the analysis revealed that the product developing managers' attitudes positively influence the intention to use VCI methods. In order to create favorable attitudes among the development staff, several initiatives might be undertaken: e.g. inviting experts in VCI to explain the advantages, introducing successful examples of VCI in the same or other industries, dissemination of reports about VCI experiences also from the customers' perspective, providing test tool kits and encouraging the staff to try them, simulating VCI with external experts, and nominating a person responsible for questions in this regard. The second research question addressed the customers' motivations to participate in virtual NPD projects. As little research exists that examines customers' motivation to engage in VCI in a business-to-business context, this study built on findings from motivational studies of other related areas (virtual consumer integration, open source software, consumer articulation on opinion platforms, and user innovation). It was found that three motives (product improvement, help, and interest in innovation) explain 56% of the variance of the user's willingness to participate in VCI; compensation had no significant impact. Concerning the question of how to attract users to the participation in VCI, the results suggest that it is primarily arguments that envisage the interest in medical technical innovation and personal knowledge gain which will be fruitful for recruitment. Contrary to the conventional opinion, monetary compensation or reputation gains will not provide a convincing argument to attract users for participation in virtual product development in the sample under study. On the one hand this finding is a positive signal for developing firms, as it suggests that users will largely participate voluntarily in VCI projects, and won't demand large monetary compensation or insist on being named as co-creator or co-owner of an eventual patent. It also discards voices claiming caution when paying users for participation in VCI as with monetary compensation not only the intrinsically motivated persons would participate, but also users only interested in monetary rewards. On the other hand money as an important and often convincing argument to encourage people to perform certain behaviors cannot be used. A fruitful strategy for recruiting users to participate in VCI might also be to mention the possibilities for product improvement. There seems to be quite a body of users of medical technology who are not satisfied with existing products or would at least benefit from improved technology. Thus, pointing out the advantages of new medical technologies and stressing the importance of a user's personal contribution for the product development process might be convincing arguments in this regard. Also, signaling the opportunity to be among the first users to benefit from these improved technologies might further users' willingness to participate. One surprising finding of our analysis was that addressing users' helping motives will not encourage their participation in VCI, or as in our case might even be counter-productive. This clearly goes against what one would expect. As the majority of the interviewed users in our sample consists of doctors or persons dealing with illness in their daily lives, this path has to be viewed in a relative manner: as doctors are supposed to help anyway as part of their professional ethos, a further accentuation of the helping motive might be understood as obtrusive by this target group. In contrast, for other users, and in particular for patients or relatives the helping motive might represent a much stronger motive to participate in VCI. One important limitation of our study consists in the survey method itself. By using an online survey the likelihood of receiving a critical mass of completed questionnaires has been increased, and also an online survey certainly fits well with the topic of virtual customer integration. However, an online survey also holds the danger of self-selected samples and the possibility that users and developers of medical technology who are not as familiar with the Internet decline to participate. While this concern might be attenuated for the developing firms (as engineers necessarily dispose of a higher technical affinity), it might be accentuated for users. Future studies therefore should investigate these research questions with other methods, e.g. experimental designs. As there is a lack of research on motives to participate in VCI in a business-to-business context, we relied on studies in consumer markets. Drawing on studies in multiple contexts and building on Füller's (2006) review of the literature, we developed a list of six motives. The empirical results did not perfectly confirm the motives. Two factors (knowledge generation and interest in innovations) had to be merged; curiosity did not allow being a separated factor with a single item measure and was merged with interest in innovation as well. This surprising finding might be attributed to the specific context of the study (medical equipment). Therefore, future studies in other industries are needed to test motives to participate in VCI projects in a business context. In our user sample 80% of respondents were below 50 years of age. This certainly is an age where respondents make use of medical technology on a regular basis in their career stage. The elder age-group of very experienced users of medical technology however might be underrepresented in the sample, and it might well be that their motives to participate in VCI differ significantly from those of younger colleagues (if they were ever willing to participate in VCI at all). There might also be a series of moderating effects, e.g. differences in the adoption of VCI technology in manufacturing firms according to experienced vs. non-experienced managers; the same is true for motives among users. Age, as mentioned above, might be a moderator too, as well as the function of managers and the role of users in the health system. This however goes beyond the scope of our study and might constitute worthwhile research questions for further projects.