Although top managers' direct influence on new product development (NPD) projects may not be evident, managers frame the conditions surrounding such projects by determining the strategic directions and managing the context for a firm's innovation activities. Drawing on strategic leadership theory and effectuation logic, this study proposes nonlinear effects of three important strategic givens determined by top managers that represent key levers to frame firms' NPD: customer orientation, encouragement to take risks, and autonomy. Multi-informant data from top-level marketing managers and project managers in multiple U.S. high-Tech industries indicate optimal levels for each strategic given. A moderate level of customer orientation is optimal for new product performance (inverted U-shaped relationship); new products also perform best when managers support very low or high levels of autonomy (U-shaped relationship). In contrast with a predicted curvilinear effect, managers' encouragement of risk taking actually exerts a positive linear effect on new product performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation