Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Exploring Interaction-Based Antecedents of Marketing-R&D Collaboration: Evidence from the Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry

Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Exploring Interaction-Based Antecedents of Marketing-R&D Collaboration: Evidence from the Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

Product innovation has become a prominent strategy for firms to strengthen competitive position, improve profitability, and maintain sales growth (Ahmad, Mallick, & Schroeder, 2013; Chen, Damanpour, & Reilly, 2010). Many research endeavors have been devoted to identifying factors contributing to NPD success (Oh, Cho, & Kim, 2015; Troy, Hirunyawipada, & Paswan, 2008; Wong, 2013). Among a vast amount of literature, the importance of Marketing-R&D integration to new product development (NPD) results is well recognized (Lam & Chin, 2005; Ortega & García-Villaverde, 2011; Song & Song, 2010). However, the pursuit of interfunctional integration is quite challenging (Eng & Ozdemir, 2014; Piercy, 2007). Due to diverse functional roles and interests, cross-functional integration might not take place naturally and sustain easily (e.g., Olson, Walker, Ruekert, & Booner, 2001; Perks, Kahn, & Zhang, 2009).

Cross-functional incongruity and disputes are damaging to NPD outcomes. It is crucial to reduce or overcome the barriers to inter-functional integration. Thus, a better understanding of inter-functional integration, its composition, and facilitating factors is necessary. In fact, many researchers have studied the antecedents of marketing-R&D integration. Some scholars focus on structural factors, such as formalization (AtuaheneGima & Evangelista, 2000) and decision making styles (Song & Thieme, 2006). Others look at motivational predictors, which include reward schemes (Sarin & Mahajan, 2001) and empowerment (McDonough, 2000). Also, still others examine social/cultural variables, including social orientation (Maltz & Kohli, 2000), conflict resolution (Olson et al., 2001), management support (Wong, 2013), and organizational climate (Garrett et al, 2006). Taken together, the sheer amount of research reflects a persistent interest in identifying and studying factors that are important to interfunctional integration.

In view of the great diversity in conceptualizing interfunctional integration and illustrating its predictors, Kahn (1996) differentiated two approaches as useful to enhance cross-functional integration. A collaborative approach focuses on creating coworkers' affective relationships. It is centered on psychological/relational mechanisms, stressing common goals and mutual trust, to enhance inter-functional integration. In contrast, an interaction one relies on coordinating activities for bridging NPD coworkers of different functional departments. The latter approach emphasizes member interactions in which informational and communication activities, such as formal meetings and training courses, are utilized to strengthen cross-functional integration.

While the above work is useful for articulating inter-functional integration, Kahn (1996) mentions an issue: intense interaction does not guarantee collaboration, and collaboration may not require frequent interactions. Likewise, other researchers argue that they are different; each may be a necessary but insufficient condition for integration (Guenzi & Trolio, 2006; Olson et al., 2001). Due to this incompleteness, there appears a combination approach that includes both interaction and collaboration (Song & Song, 2010). It considers cross-functional integration as consisting of four core components: joint problem solving, relationship building, information and knowledge sharing, collaborative communication (e.g., Lovelace, Shapiro, & Weingart, 2001; Silva, Mathrani, & Jayamaha, 2014; Song & Song, 2010).

The new perspective brings a set of interesting research questions: are 'interaction' and 'collaboration' related to each other? If so, what is the relationship between them? And how do they influence NPD programs, respectively and/or jointly? There are opinions suggesting that interaction is a predictor of collaboration (Guenzi & Trolio, 2006; Jassawalla and Sashittal, 1999). …

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