سرمایه اجتماعی و پیامدهای توسعه محصول جدید : نقش واسطه ای سنجش توانایی در شرکت های فن آوری بالای چینی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2795||2012||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of World Business, Available online 29 September 2012
This study investigates the effects of social capital (trust and power) on a high-tech firm's new product development outcomes through the leveraging of its sensing capability in an emerging market, China. A sample of high-tech firms in China is used to test the proposed relationships. Findings confirm that both trust and power in a high-tech firm's social network are significantly associated with its two new product development outcomes through sensing capability which fully mediates the relationships.
Social capital has been identified as a critical factor for new product development (e.g., Rindfleisch and Moorman, 2001 and Zhang and Li, 2010). It not only helps to provide access to information and facilitates greater utilization and sharing of information and knowledge (e.g., Adler and Kwon, 2002 and Wu, 2008), but it also improves the chance of efficient knowledge transfer and utilization by reducing the likelihood of opportunistic behavior and attrition in implementation (e.g., Rindfleisch & Moorman, 2001). This eventually results in better knowledge exploitation and knowledge exploration in the form of increased product innovation. Extant studies suggest that realizing these benefits can be difficult for high-tech firms, especially those in emerging economies (e.g., Fang, 2008, Molina-Morales and Martinez-Fernandez, 2009 and Yli-Renko et al., 2001). The rapidly changing environment in high-tech industries, coupled with the economic liberation in emerging markets, makes it difficult for many high-tech firms to grasp appropriate information and knowledge for their product innovation in a timely manner. This can make it extremely difficult for a high-tech firm in an emerging economy to efficiently and effectively turn the information and knowledge benefits available through networking with its business partners into new product innovations. The inherent problems of a business network such as inertia can make this almost an insurmountable task. Fang (2008) found that sharing information with customers in a highly connected network in an emerging economy could lead to undesirable new product outcomes because the network structure facilitates homogeneous market information. This endangers the firm to adapt to the volatile market. A question remains: what underlying mechanisms can the potential benefits of social capital be realized to enhance new product development outcomes of a high-tech firm, especially in an emerging market? Drawing on the resource-based view (RBV), this study argues that social capital, a firm resource residing in its social network, provides only potential benefits such as information access and a safe environment. Sensing capability, a distinctive capability, is essential to turn these potential benefits into realized new product development outcomes. Sensing capability is defined as the ability of a firm to sense and identify opportunities and options in its scanning, searching and exploring across technologies and markets for its new product development (Teece, 2007). This is because mere information access or sharing does not guarantee better new product outcomes in this setting. New product development is a problem-solving process that requires accurate and up-to-date market information (e.g. Fang, 2011 and Song et al., 2009), and complementary and specialized knowledge (Kogut & Zander, 1992). In a highly volatile environment such as a high-tech industry in an emerging market, failure to recognize and evaluate properly critical knowledge residing in a firm's external network for product innovation could handicap a high-tech firm in developing innovative products. Being slow to identify valuable, current and accurate market information can limit a high-tech firm's ability to launch new products fast to markets. This makes sensing capability essential for realizing the potential benefits offered by a firm's social capital. It allows a firm to renew its competences and align its products with a fast-changing environment, which is critical to firm competitiveness in this setting (Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997, p. 515). This study is the first attempt to investigate sensing capability as a mediating mechanism in the relationship between social capital (specifically trust and power) and new product development outcomes (product innovativeness and speed to market). It focused on high-tech firms in China. Product innovativeness and speed to market were chosen as the new product development outcomes because both become imperative with the short product life cycles and intense competition now prevailing in global markets (Langerak & Hultink, 2006), especially in high-tech industries. Using a sample of high-tech firms in China, our findings provide a strong evidence for the essential role of sensing capability in transforming potential benefits of social capital into concrete outcomes such as more innovative products and faster speed to market. High-tech firms in China offer an appropriate research setting for such a study for two reasons. First, China provides an appropriate context to test the effect of social capital. China shares many of the common characteristics of emerging economies such as institutional voids and rapid changes. In addition, the Chinese have a long tradition of using social ties to facilitate cooperation in business transactions (Li, Poppo, & Zhou, 2008). These can be evidenced by the prevalence of social ties in China. Second, new products are increasingly important for Chinese high-tech firms as local customers as well as foreign customers become more sophisticated in their requirements and more demanding about technology. In response, China's high-tech firms have been accelerating their new product development and initiating more joint high-tech new product development projects (Fang, 2011, p. 159). Consequently, this setting helps to elucidate how sensing capability can help translate the benefits of social capital into enhanced product innovativeness and greater speed to market for a high-tech firm in an emerging market. The remainder of the article is organized as follows: First of all, literature on the RBV, social capital and new product development, and sensing capability is reviewed and several hypotheses are put forward. Then, the research methods and data collection procedures are described. After that, hypotheses are tested using a sample of 102 high-tech firms in China. Structural equation modeling technique with bootstrap tests is used to perform data analysis. In the end, findings are discussed and both theoretical and practical implications are offered.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study investigated the relationships between social capital – manifested by trust and power – and two new product outcomes: product innovativeness and speed to market, in high-tech industries in China. The findings provide strong evidence for the essential role of sensing capability in transforming the potential benefits of social capital into concrete outcomes such as more innovative products and faster speed to market. They reveal that both trust and power significantly predict a firm's sensing capability, which in turn is significantly associated with its innovativeness and speed to market. In regard to the mediation roles of sensing capability, findings found support for full mediation in the relationships between trust, power and new product outcomes. The results suggest that to cope with the dynamic market environment in emerging markets, high-tech firms should invest in building their sensing capability to improve their new product innovativeness and the speed with which new products are launched to the market, because sensing capability plays an essential role in explaining the impact of social capital on the two new product outcomes. 5.1. Theoretical implications The existing literature on new product development suggests that social capital could be conducive to new product outcomes. It is advocated that further understanding of the role of social capital in the development of intellectual capital and innovation ability is needed (Payne et al., 2011). This study contributes to the existing pool of knowledge on the relationship between social capital and new product development by demonstrating that there is an alternative mechanism that leverages a firm's social capital to improve its product innovativeness and speed to market. The findings also lend strong support to the argument that a firm's own abilities can be complementary resources for taking advantaging of its social capital (Adler & Kwon, 2002, p. 34). These results provide more insight into these issues in the context of high-tech industries in emerging markets. This responds to Hoskisson's call for studies of how firms adapt and learn in the face of environmental changes and uncertainty in emerging economies (Hoskisson, Eden, Lau, & Wright, 2000). The findings suggest that in an emerging economy such as China, high-tech firms could take better advantage of the benefits embedded in network trust and network power by leveraging their sensing capabilities. This capability can help a high-tech firm better recognize new opportunities and alternatives, which should eventually affect its new product outcomes. This study also extends the literature on the RBV of the firm by empirically illuminating the critical role of capabilities in the relationship between social capital and new product outcomes. Dynamic capabilities, extensions of the RBV argue that capabilities that are more dynamic, such as the ability to sense and shape threats and opportunities, are needed for firm to maintain its competitive advantages in a volatile environment (e.g., Teece et al., 1997 and Teece, 2007). The findings of this study confirm that theoretical argument. The sensing capability of a high-tech firm in an emerging economies acts like a translator that transforms benefits of social capital into product innovativeness and speed to market. 5.2. Managerial relevance These findings have some practical implications for managers. Mangers of high-tech firms are strongly advised to pay greater attention to the development of sensing capability in their new product development endeavors. In particular, they should be aware that their firms’ trusting relationships with other firms may give them access to information and knowledge. To turn these benefits into concrete improvements in their product innovativeness and speed to market, they must be able to recognize the value of these information benefits. Managers should encourage the development of this capability. This is because both the direct impact of sensing capability on the two new product development outcomes and the indirect effects of social capital on these two outcomes through sensing capability are strong and salient. To develop sensing capability, managers should not only recruit but also train first line marketing executives and engineers to build various competences such as alertness to changes in markets, detection of emerging business opportunities, and other related learning capabilities. At the same time, the firm should develop good relationships with both business clients and individual consumers so that the firm will not only be able to obtain some critical support from business customers but also can access market feedback in a timely manner. Consequently, the firm will be more capable of exploring and detecting new opportunities and options and will be in a good position to spot new technologies and identify new trends in customers’ needs. 5.3. Limitations and future studies This study is not without limitations. The study looked at only two dimensions of social capital as they are particularly relevant to the research setting (Tang, 2010). Though these are the dimensions most often addressed in academic studies (e.g., Moran, 2005), which can sufficiently carry key benefits of social capital, in hindsight, it might be both theoretically and empirically beneficial if future studies were to incorporate a cognitive dimension when investigating the impact of social capital on two new product outcomes. In addition, the findings are based on the results of data from one emerging economy, China. The generalizability of the findings is subject to further examination in other emerging economies. In addition, literature on the extension of the RBV, dynamic capabilities, suggested that dynamic capabilities could be multi-dimensional (e.g., Barreto, 2010 and Teece, 2007), but this study examined only one type of such capabilities – the ability to sense and recognize opportunities. However, this is a valid approach for exploring the mediating role of sensing capability at an early stage, but future research might profitably develop some fine-grained multi-dimensional measures to comprehensively catch the essence of this concept. Future studies might also extend this study by investigating the impact of both technological capital and human capital together with social capital on a firm's new product outcomes and the mediating role of sensing capability in those relationships. The bootstrap procedure helps improve the accuracy of the estimates and to some extent reduces concern about the moderate sample size (Byrne, 2001). Nevertheless, we acknowledge that future studies warrant a larger sample. In addition, all the measures were based on managerial perceptions. Though the tests showed that common method bias was not a serious concern, a more rigorous confirmation is warranted. Future studies should use objective measures and temporally separate the predictors from the outcome variables (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). In conclusion, the results reveal that, at least in China, sensing capability plays an important mediating role in the relationships between network trust, network power, and the two new product outcomes – innovativeness and speed to market. The key theoretical implication is that sensing capability is an alternative mechanism that may transform resources potentially available to a firm in its business network into concrete performance enhancement in product innovativeness and speed to market. Clearly, this opens up a new line of enquiry in the important domain of new product development, underscoring the theoretical importance of the RBV and its two related theoretical extensions: social capital theory and the dynamic capability perspective.