Design orientation and new product performance

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Review of Marketing Research, 2018, 15 pp. 229 - 253
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© 2018 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. Purpose – The products of some firms emerge neither from new technology developments nor from attempting to address articulated consumers’ needs, but from a company-internal design-driven approach. To explore this design-driven approach, we propose a construct, design orientation, as a firm’s ability to integrate functionality, aesthetics, and meaning in its new products. We hypothesize relationships between a firm’s design orientation, customer orientation, technological orientation, and willingness to cannibalize on its new product performance. Methodology/approach – We use data from surveys of senior marketing executives entrusted with design in 252 US firms, we validate the construct of design orientation and establish its distinctiveness from related constructs of creativity, technological orientation, and customer orientation. Using a structural equation modeling approach, we test the hypotheses and find support for them. Findings – Individually, design orientation, technological orientation, and customer orientation improve new product performance. In addition, customer orientation decreases the positive effect of design orientation while willingness to cannibalize increases the positive effect of design orientation on new product performance. Implications for theory and/or practice – More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) perceive that their firm can improve its new product performance by increasing its design orientation, an overlooked organizational capability. Originality/value – Although practitioners have acknowledged the importance of design as a strategic marketing issue, there is little in the literature on how firms can benefit from building capabilities in the design domain, the issue we focus on in this research.
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