Managerial Decision Making in Project Acceleration: The Role of Product Innovativeness and Acceleration Goals in Acceleration Strategy Choice

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Abstract

There is increasing recognition among new product development (NPD) scholars that not all drivers of faster product development are equally impactful under different conditions and that a universal approach to accelerating NPD is not very useful. This study investigates how project innovativeness, a major source of uncertainty in NPD, influences acceleration strategy choice, while also taking into account the extent of acceleration that is being sought to achieve. In the light of extant work on acceleration strategies, we distinguish between two alternative theoretical models (compression strategy, which involves the use of practices such as supplier involvement, computer-aided design (CAD) and overlapping steps; and experiential strategy, which resides on the implementation of multiple design iteration and testing cycles, frequent project milestones and a powerful project leader) with which to accelerate product development. We follow a 2x2 experimental design based on a hypothetical decision task in which participants are projected into the role of a product development manager embarking on a new project, and conduct two sets of Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) on data obtained from 88 NPD practitioners. The results offer support for our hypothesis that incremental NPD projects would utilise compression to a greater extent than highly innovative projects. As expected, the acceleration strategy of choice for highly innovative projects is the experiential strategy. We find that incremental and highly innovative projects respond differently to the hike in uncertainty due to an ambitious time reduction objective. Specifically, incremental projects merely increase their reliance on their default strategy of compression, highly innovative projects make complementary use of both experiential and compression strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th Product Innovation Management Conference
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 38th Product Innovation Management Conference - Denver, United States
Duration: 18 Oct 201422 Oct 2014

Conference

ConferenceThe 38th Product Innovation Management Conference
CountryUnited States
CityDenver
Period18/10/1422/10/14

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