Patterns of cooperation during new product development among marketing, operations and R&D: Implications for project performance

Eric M. Olson, Orville C Walker Jr, Robert W. Ruekert, Joseph M. Bonner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

309 Scopus citations

Abstract

Successful new product development is fundamentally a multidisciplinary process. While this view has helped lead management to the wide-spread adoption of cross-functional new product development teams, in this study we question whether simply increasing the level of functional integration is truly a guarantee for enhancing the performance of new products. To assess this we examined patterns of cooperation between marketing, R&D, and operations at both early and late stages of the new product development process for 34 recently developed products whose level of innovativeness ranged from high to low. A unique feature of this study is that data were collected from four sources for each project. This included personal interviews with a project leader and written surveys from marketing, operations, and R&D personnel on each project. Findings from this study reveal that: (1) functional cooperation typically increases as the process moves from early to late stages; (2) cooperation between marketing and R&D is highest during early stages of the process, but for marketing and operations, and for R&D and operations, cooperation typically increases as the process moves from early to late stages; (3) higher project performance - irrespective of the level of project innovation - is demonstrated when cooperation between marketing and R&D, and cooperation between operations and R&D is high during early stages; (4) late stage cooperation between marketing and operations, and R&D and operations is a key determinant in project performance for innovative products but not for noninnovative products, and; (5) that early stage cooperation between marketing and operations is associated with superior performance for low innovation projects but is also associated with poor performance for innovative projects. Findings from this study demonstrate that the importance of cooperation between specific functional dyads (i.e., marketing - R&D; R&D - operations; operations - marketing) indeed varies by time (i.e., early vs. late stages), and by the level of innovativeness (i.e., new-to-the-world vs. modifications) associated with the new product being developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully thank the Marketing Science Institute for its financial support of this project.

Copyright:
Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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