Continuity, Change, and New Product Performance

Continuity, Change, and New Product Performance: The Role of Stream Concentration

Continuity, Change, and New Product Performance: The Role of Stream Concentration

Enrico Forti, Maurizio Sobrero and Andrea Vezzulli

Originally published: March 17, 2020 (PDMA JPIM • Vol 37 • Issue 3 • May 2020)
Read time: 1 hour

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Product development teams often face the challenge of designing radically new products that cater at the same time to the revealed tastes and expectations of existing customers. In new product development projects, this tension guides critical choices about continuity or change concerning product attributes and team composition. Research suggests these choices interact, but it is not clear whether they are complements or substitutes and if the level of change in one should match or not the level of change in the other. In this article, we examine the interaction between product attribute change, team change, and a new team‐level factor, which we term stream concentration, as it captures differences among team members in terms of familiarity with the knowledge domain of the new product being developed. We measure stream concentration as team members’ prior NPD experience within a given set of products and assess its impacts on the management of change in new product development projects using longitudinal data from the music industry. We analyze 2621 new product development projects between 1962 and 2008 involving 34,265 distinct team members. Results show that stream concentration is a critical factor in new product development projects that, together with product attributes and team composition, affects new product performance. We discuss implications for research and practice.

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