New product development in start-up technology-based firms (STBFs)

Beven, Peter W. (2007) New product development in start-up technology-based firms (STBFs). [Thesis (PhD/Research)] (Unpublished)

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[Abstract]: Firms undertaking new product development are faced with an environment which is characterised by long lead times from basic research to industrial application, a commercialisation phase with short lead times and an increasingly accelerated rate of obsolescence under the global competition of the new product development process. While this is true for all firms, STBFs face further complications from the inherently higher risks associated with such firms. In examining how STBFs undertake their new product development (NPD), the relationship between corporate strategy, NPD process features and new product success factors specifically need to be considered. An additional consideration is the role that business incubators play in assisting tenant STBFs to undertake their new product development. As such, the theory of how new product development is undertaken by STBFs lies across several disciplines including corporate strategy theory, new product development theory, entrepreneurial theory, technology management theory, economic development theory and business incubator theory. Specifically, the research problem for this research is: what are the origins and nature of new product development processes within STBFs and how do they contribute to STBF success? In undertaking a review of the literature some insights were obtained to specifically explain how STBFs undertake their new product development, the relationship between NPD process activity and new product and firm success and the role of business incubators. As a result, a theoretical framework was developed which in turn, resulted in three research questions: RQ 1: What elements of NPD are adopted by STBFs when developing new products? RQ 2: How does the lack of adoption of the elements of NPD contribute to new product and firm failure in STBFs? RQ 3: How and in what ways do business incubators influence the performance of the elements of NPD adopted by STBFs? A three-stage qualitative research design within the realism paradigm was used for this research. It combined exploratory interviews with a case study methodology in order to build theory through induction. This was then followed up with a series of interviews to discover which firms had experienced product failure, had discontinued their NPD process and/or had suffered firm failure over the duration of the study. As a result, meaningful insights were able to be obtained into the relationships between the adoption of elements of NPD, new product failure and firm failure in the context of STBFs. The findings revealed that there were several aspects of the ways in which STBFs undertake their new product development activities which were not identified in the literature. In this respect, it was evident that unlike larger and established firms in which new product development activity is derived out of corporate strategy, STBFs undertake corporate strategy development as a component of new product development. It was also found that the corporate strategy – product development nexus was not linear but rather comprised a number of close inter-relationships between elements of corporate strategy, NPD process features and new product success factors requiring parallel activity. Furthermore, the majority of STBFs adopted only 15 of the 22 best practice elements of NPD proposed as part of the theoretical framework of new product development in STBFs. In addition, it was found that the STBFs that suffered failure over the course of the study adopted comparatively fewer elements of NPD than did their continuing STBF counterparts. Importantly, it was also found that business incubators provided only a modest positive influence on the performance of NPD activities by their tenant STBFs. Moreover, as STBFs are commonly single product centric, that is their overall new product development effort is focused on a single product or a narrow product line, the relationships between new product development effectiveness, new product success and firm success are closely aligned. More specifically, ineffective support for NPD activities can lead to a potential lack of effectiveness of business incubators in reducing the risk of failure of their tenant STBFs. This is despite the more general focus of business incubators in assisting tenant STBFs with corporate strategy development. The main contribution of this theory building research was the development of an empirically confirmed, theoretical and practical model for the development and management of new product development by start-up technology based firms.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Depositing User: epEditor USQ
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - No Department
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2007 06:23
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: new product development; start-up technology-based firms
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150307 Innovation and Technology Management
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified

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