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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2677||2006||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 35, Issue 3, April 2006, Pages 262–278
This paper investigates critical factors affecting the likelihood of new product success and effective new product development (NPD) models for Korean high-tech firms. Empirical results suggest that successful projects differ from unsuccessful projects in project environment, skills and resources, project leadership, strategic fit, efficient NPD process, and effective product-positioning strategies. This study confirmed that efficient and effective new product development and management were important determinants of high-tech firms' competitive advantage. Furthermore, the findings of this study raised questions about some commonly held beliefs when compared with Western studies focusing on high-tech industries.
The late industrialization of the Korean economy during the twentieth century was remarkable by any standard. The financial crisis of December 1997 seemingly brought the Korean economy to the brink of economic doom; a − 5.8% growth of real GDP was recorded in 1998. But the Korean economy made a V-shaped recovery in approaching 9% growth of real GDP in 1999. Lucas (1996) suggests the need for a theory that incorporates the possibility of a rapid growth episode such as occurred in Korea. Although Korea's production and manufacturing technologies have nearly matched the level of advanced countries, key technologies in heavy and high-technology industries continue to lag behind. Korean expenditures on R&D total more than $5.5 billion a year, but R&D investment in business is concentrated in short-term product development programs, which are not receiving sufficient government support (Kim, 1997). Government-funded research institutes, which should be in the business of developing basic technology, are collapsing one after another (Chung & Kim, 2003). The Korean conglomerates, chaebols, were more interested in programs to diversify their lines of business than in R&D programs to develop their own technology. The chaebols' failure to invest in technology and new product development was partly responsible for Korea's loss of international competitiveness (Soh, 1997). The chaebols are now faced with strong demands to restructure and refocus on their core businesses. Korea must improve its industrial development capabilities and overcome domestic and overseas hurdles that hinder social and economic progress. While trying to secure its competitive capabilities in science and technology to move ahead in this realm, the Korean government is placing greater emphasis on high-tech industries while encouraging the growth of innovative small- and medium-sized businesses. To reach this goal, Korea must sustain its competitiveness and superiority in selected fields by concentrating its limited R&D resources. At the same time, Korea must upgrade its capacity in every field of industry and technology and prepare a wide array of plans to develop new and advanced products that will bring its technological levels on par with those of the world's leading countries. As Porter (1990, p. 470) points out, product and process technology in Korean industries often lags a generation or two behind the world leaders in these areas. To restore their competitiveness during a time when advanced countries are guarding their technology more closely, Korean firms must develop and manage innovation better. Because new products are vital to long-term survival and viability, the process of developing them is a critical endeavor in today's globally competitive environment (Calantone et al., 1996, Song and Parry, 1997b and Song et al., 1997). However, failures in new product development (NPD) can cost hundreds of million of dollars. Addressing critical issues and opportunities in new product development, Wind and Mahajan (1997) emphasize that assessing the best practices in NPD could provide insight into what new concepts and tools are needed to help management improve the probability of successful NPD. The purpose of this paper is to examine the best new product development and management practices in the Korean high-tech industry. This paper seeks to examine the critical factors affecting the likelihood of new product success. The model we test is based on previous research on NPD that is Korean context-specific. In a comprehensive review of empirical research on NPD, Brown and Eisenhardt (1995) present an important integrative framework for the organization-oriented, project-level NPD research of the last 25 years. Their framework brings together three major streams of research in the NPD area: (1) product development as a rational plan, (2) product development as a communication web and (3) product development as disciplined problem-solving. All three streams of research have strengths and weaknesses as well as overlapping and complementary interests (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1995). For the purposes of this study, we concentrate our efforts on empirically testing a model of NPD that integrates aspects of the rational plan and disciplined problem-solving streams in a Korean context. Rather than narrowly focusing on depth as in the communication web perspective, we emphasized breadth as in the rational plan perspective since our objective is to uncover the Korean best practices in NPD. Also, a series of case study interviews revealed that the incorporation of the disciplined problem-solving perspective enables us to better understand Korean NPD process.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of this paper is to examine the best new product development and management practices in the Korean high-tech industry. This paper investigates critical factors affecting the likelihood of new product success and effective new product development models for Korean high-tech firms. The results demonstrate that successful projects differ from unsuccessful projects in project environment, skills and resources, project leadership, strategic fit, efficient NPD process, and effective product-positioning strategies. As Ernst (2002) indicated, over a period of nearly thirty years, the results of empirical NPD research have remained fairly constant. We speculate that previous studies tend to emphasize more “general” results applicable to different industries rather than “specific” results applicable to a particular industry. Simply put, we need more industry-specific studies to better understand different NPD practices. Focusing on high-tech industry, our study attempted to verify the appropriateness of the NPD findings for the context of high-tech firms. This study confirmed that efficient and effective new product development and management are a crucial determinant of high-tech firms' competitive advantage. Furthermore, the findings of this study raised questions about some commonly held beliefs when compared with western studies focusing on high-tech industries. Is project environment an important determinant of high-tech firms’ NPD success? We found that the project environments played an important role in project success and failure. High-tech industries are characterized by technological uncertainty, market uncertainty, and competitive volatility (Mohr, 2001). Although the project environments should be seriously considered in the NPD process, few studies dealing with high-tech industry have incorporated the dynamism of high-tech markets. Our study highlighted the importance of the role of project environment in the high-tech NPD process. Should high-tech firms emphasize technical skills and resources more than marketing skills and resources? Korean enterprises in the high-tech field put more emphasis on the marketing skills and resources over technical skills and resources in the NPD process. Few high-tech studies have comprehensively examined marketing's role in developing new products although producing high-tech products requires significant marketing savvy and proficiency. Similarly, our research findings underscore the importance of customer orientation in the NPD process. During our case study interviews, we found that a NPD process normally started with the identification of customer needs by examining current product sales, technology and competitor's products to come up with new product ideas and determine market segmentation, target market and market positioning strategy. For example, CDMA mobile phones were initially developed to provide businessmen using analog mobile phones with expanded customer benefits such as data handling capabilities and various multimedia services. For most Korean firms it was not long ago that marketing replaced the function of sales. Prior to the recent corporate restructuring due to IMF crisis, marketing was supervised by the head of sales, which was typical of most Korean firms. But Korean management felt that it needed to strengthen the marketing capability and so new brand managers were placed in charge of managing the NPD process and building marketing strategy. The brand managers have played the role of product champion, responsible for the management of the product portfolio, product life cycle and brand profits. With this system in place, the brand managers are able to work more closely with the R&D function from the very beginning of product concept development. This emerging marketing-dominant NPD process in Korea was revealed and confirmed in our case study interviews with Korean high-tech firms. Is project leadership an important determinant of high-tech firms’ NPD success? Previous studies in high-tech context indicated successful projects had a clearer, more stable and supported project vision than unsuccessful projects (e.g., Akgun, Lynn, & Byrne, 2004). Our research also highlighted the role of project leadership. Based on the problem-solving perspective, vision is a critical characteristic of the project leader. In Korea, CEOs often play a crucial role as a project leader in the entire process of NPD. During our case study interviews, we found that the first key success factor of NPD was the will and zeal of the top management to drive innovation. Moving toward self-regulated management, and encouraged by the Group, the chairman has made a special effort to maintain a consistent direction for growth. This continuous effort toward innovation enforced by the top management is the key for Korean firms to strategically strengthen their NPD capabilities. Are process proficiency and commitment of senior management important determinants of high-tech firms’ NPD success? We found that NPD process proficiency and the role and commitment of senior management were key distinguishers between success and failure. Western studies (Ernst, 2002 for a review) similarly reported these variables are key success factors of NPD for high-tech products. This consistent finding between western and Korean high-tech firms may imply that these key distinguishers must be viewed as “hygiene” factors which need to be attended if the project is to succeed. This finding also suggests that there is a global formula for successful NPD. Without considering these variables seriously, NPD success is not guaranteed regardless of organizational, national, and cultural differences. During our case study interviews, we also found an exemplar of top management's involvement and support for NPD. It is widely known that Korean CEOs make it a rule to check the state of development of their products by comparing them with the world's best in each category. Such a helmsman's style of the chairmen may have been instrumental in making their firms grow to join the ranks of world's best hi-tech firms. Is implementation more important than initiation to high-tech firms’ NPD success? Interestingly, we found that the latter stages of the NPD process have a greater effect on new product success. Generally, the elevation of manufacturing over R&D and marketing can be found in many Korean firms where production orientation became deeply entrenched. This situation may reflect the stage of industrial development in which emphasis is placed on imitation to minimize R&D investment and to compete on volume manufacturing and lower prices. As Im et al. (2003) pointed out, Korean firms are normally associated with implementation, a more manufacturing-centered process, but not with initiation, a more R&D- and marketing-centric process. Is communication flow between technical and commercial entities important to high-tech firms’ NPD success? Our study found that the level of information flow and contact between the technical entities and commercial entities were strongly correlated to both technical and financial success. Our case study interviews confirm that cross-functional interface plays an important role in new product success. One senior manger stated that, “Our Engineering and Product Development Center is a testimonial to the strategic partnership, and demonstrates how automakers can become competitive by improving between marketing, engineering and manufacturing”. Is straddling product positioning strategically detrimental to high-tech firms’ NPD success? Despite of the fact that the positioning decision is often the crucial strategic decision for a company, few studies focusing on western high-tech industry have dealt with the role of product positioning strategy in the NPD process. Exceptionally Link (1987) reported that product positioning based on user benefits can be one of the most important success variables. This finding, however, was not subsequently verified in a comprehensive manner. We found that product positioning strategies play a crucial role in the NPD process of high-tech firms. Interestingly, the findings of this study indicated that both quality superiority and cost leadership can be simultaneously achieved in the high-tech NPD process, both of which equally contribute to the success of project. Marketers generally view this straddling positioning as strategically detrimental. According to Porter (1985), pursing both differentiation and cost leadership could position technology leaders stuck in the middle. 6.1. Theoretical implications This research contributes to the literature in several ways. Our study is one of the few that investigate the best practices of Korean NPD. This study has contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of key success factors in the “best practices” of Korean NPD. Second, our proposed model incorporates Day and Wensley's conceptual model of competitive advantage, Brown and Eisenhardt's conceptual integrative model of product development, and Song and Parry's empirical model of Japanese NPD. The model encompasses different perspectives from different disciplines. The model may help researchers to integrate a plethora of factors deemed critical for NPD success. 6.2. Managerial implications Our study has several managerial implications. Foremost is that its findings could serve as a guide for strengthening NPD in Korean firms. In particular, the findings on market predictability, marketing skills and resources and long-term relationship highlight three critical areas that are critical to NPD successes. Firms can focus their efforts on improving these dimensions rather than attempting to work on less significant variables simultaneously. Dimensions which are weak will require more immediate attention. For example, if a firm determines that market predictability is low, managers can focus on information generation, sharing and dissemination on customers and competitors to build more market-oriented organization. Second, based on our findings that production orientation is still deeply entrenched in Korean firms, Korean managers need to put more emphasis on the market-driven over the technology-driven NPD process. Traditionally Korean firms tend to focus on ‘inside-out’ perspective rather than ‘outside-in’ perspective. Consequently, Korean firms are advised to develop marketing skills and capabilities in order to proficiently perform critical marketing development activities. Third, the product positioning factor is crucial. As a product gets closer to launch, a company may learn that the product offers no competitive advantage. Therefore, how well a firm positions its new products determines the fate of the new products and market performance. Our findings indicate that feature emphasis is a less important positioning strategy than focusing on compatibility, cost and service. Thus, companies should emphasize the dimensions of versatility and compatibility when launching new products. Cost effectiveness and technical service can also be effective positioning strategies. Fourth, our study also points to understanding the importance of cross-functional integration. Korean firms have been criticized for trying to do everything themselves and neglecting close inter-departmental cooperation. Our findings that cross-functional integration enhances NPD performance suggest that tight communications and cooperation between commercial and technical entities are helpful throughout the NPD process. Fifth, this Korean-specific study enables non-Korean managers to expect some variation and accommodate this without sacrificing the ultimate goal of creating successful new products in Korea. If a multinational is operating R&D or innovation centers in Korea, or if it is collaborating in a strategic alliance with a Korean company to develop new products, it may be counterproductive to impose a uniform approach to NPD. As Im et al. (2003) pointed out, the need to observe distinctions in NPD by country is a valuable implication for global managers. 6.3. Limitations and directions for future research Our conclusions must be qualified in several ways. First, we used t-test of means and correlation analyses to examine the differences between successful and unsuccessful projects. Path analyses would provide additional insights and would be a more rigorous method for testing hypotheses. Unfortunately, we do not have enough observations for doing so given the number of variables we are examining (see Song and Parry, 1994a and Song and Parry, 1994b). Second, we collected data from the sample of high-tech firms; thus, the generalizability of the model is limited. Although many Korean high-tech firms have become world leaders through their advanced products, they still do not represent all Korean industries. Additionally further research needs to develop a culturally authentic NPD model which is more adaptable to the Korean context. Even though Brown and Eisenhardt's framework is integrative and comprehensive, their model still lacks contextual interpretability and adaptability. Finally, further research also needs to incorporate the perspective of communication web into the rational plan and problem-solving perspectives to better explain the Korean NPD process.