Table 3 shows the results. Each column lists the results of one multiple regression, using time, quality, budget, and target cost as dependent variables. Only significant (bold, p < 0.05) and weakly significant (italics, p < 0.10) standardized estimated partial regression coefficients are shown.
Table 3. Results of the Regression Analyses
|Main effects – Innovativeness|
|Market potential dimension|
|Organizational dimension|| || ||−0.22||−0.18|
|Main effects – Role characteristics|
|Expert promoter||0.40||0.44|| || |
|Process promoter|| || ||0.22||0.29|
|Technology-related relationship promoter||0.25||0.18||0.25|| |
|Market-related relationship promoter|
|Project leader experience||0.36||0.24||0.35|| |
|Interaction effects – Technological innovativeness|
|Expert promoter||−0.23|| ||−0.24|| |
|Power promoter||−0.30|| ||−0.26|| |
|Process promoter||−0.31||−0.23||−0.25|| |
|Technology-related relationship promoter|| || ||0.17|| |
|Market-related relationship promoter||0.20||0.24|| || |
|Project leader experience||0.19|| ||0.29|| |
|Interaction effects – Market potential innovativeness|
|Expert promoter||0.35|| ||0.20|| |
|Technology-related relationship promoter|| || ||−0.33|| |
|Market-related relationship promoter|
|Project leader experience|
|Interaction effects – Organizational innovativeness|
|Expert promoter|| || || ||−0.31|
|Process promoter|| || || ||0.31|
|Technology-related relationship promoter||0.18||0.28|| || |
|Market-related relationship promoter||−0.27||−0.26|| || |
|Project leader experience||−0.16|| || || |
|Explained variance (corrected measure)||24.8%||14.8%||34.8%||14.9%|
It is evident that the main effects of innovativeness are not significant, with the exception of a negative effect of organizational innovativeness on budget and target cost. Research in innovation management shows that especially radically new designs need to prove their suitability in practice before being accepted on the market (Lynn, Morone & Paulson, 1996; Veryzer, 1998). Only then can product process improvements be established which enable the firm to lower the costs in order to bring the product to the mass market. Therefore, it is not necessarily surprising that a high degree of innovativeness correlates negatively with budget and target costs, particularly for unexpected cost of organizational changes.
Regarding the main effects of the innovator roles, we can see that, with the exception of the power promoter, all other innovator roles show significant positive influences and no significant negative influences. The expert promoter improves time and quality, the process promoter (champion) budget and target cost. Thus they are both very complementary. The technology-related relationship promoter increases quality and budget by fostering cooperations with technology suppliers, and the market-related promoter improves time performance by bringing in market-related time pressures. Finally, the experienced project leader acts as expected, and helps to fulfil the three traditional project success criteria of time, quality and budget. The unexpected result that the power promoter has no significant influence deserves some comment. The projects in our sample were often strategically important, therefore at least one power promoter was found in 72% of the cases, and in 35% of the cases two or more power promoters were supporting the project. The Likert-scale to assess power-promotion ‘The key person supports the project above-average from a higher hierarchical level’ goes from 1 to 7. In 51% of the projects the value ‘7’ was chosen, in 21% ‘6’ was chosen, i.e., there was a high amount of power promotion in most of the projects, thus there was no barrier of not wanting the innovation. In contrast to the many studies on normally innovative projects, we found that additional resources did not significantly correlate with any of our four success measures. To summarize: innovator roles have important main effects for improving the success of radical innovations. Only the power promoter showed no significant main effect, because lack of resources was not a critical success factor (see also Gemünden, Salomo & Krieger, 2005).
What are the moderating effects of innovativeness? Increasing technological innovativeness shows positive and negative interaction effects. The troika of expert, power and process promoter performs significantly poorer when technological innovativeness increases. This is quite surprising, because this troika has been advocated very often, and has been seen as the core part of the promoter models. Our findings cast doubts on this core model. We observe that the two externally oriented types of relationship promoters, and the experienced project leader, increase their positive impacts with increasing technological innovativeness. It is very likely that in cases of high technological innovativeness, a lot of new knowledge is created outside the organization, e.g., in universities and research institutions, or among competitors, suppliers and customers, so that the traditional internal troika cannot cope with these dynamics. Project managers, experienced in leading R&D projects, will nowadays also cope with cooperation partners, so that they can also handle the external sources of innovative uncertainty much better.
Market potential innovativeness also shows positive and negative interaction effects, but these are much less significant. Higher degrees of expertise as reflected by the expert promoter allow exploiting the higher market potential significantly better within time and budget. However, if this expertise does not come from within the firm, but has to be acquired from outside by means of a technological relationship promoter, it will significantly lead to budget overruns with increasing market potential.
Organizational innovativeness also shows positive and negative interaction effects, but in this case the negative interaction effects cannot be attributed to the internal innovator roles, and the positive ones to the externally oriented roles. Rather, other explanations are needed. Organizational innovation means that the organization needs to build up new competences. It has to change its processes, structures and/or its culture and value system. The negative interaction with the expert promoter indicates that relying on existing competences does not help, but will increase the problem of meeting target costs. By finding new technological partners, and fostering cooperation with them, technology-related promoters may bring in required new competences and thus save time and improve the quality of the new product. Process promoters, recognizing the value of new competences, and the need for organizational change and integration of externals, may also help to overcome the competence gap. They may bring together the right people and support organizational change by means of their internal networks. Market-related champions stress the market opportunity, but they underestimate the problems of organizational change, and therefore show negative interaction effects. The experienced project leader may cope with his project demands, but the more a change of his permanent organization is required, the more helpless he becomes, and finally his activities show negative interaction effects.
How do the innovator roles perform in the light of these findings? It can be seen that the expert promoter, who is often seen as the core actor, because technological expertise is a basic requirement of many innovations, particularly if the term ‘technology’ includes social technologies as well, does not always perform very well in cases of radical innovation. Where does this surprising result come from? The explanation is the source of expertise. If it comes mainly from inside the organization, based on research done in the firm's own laboratories, or on a new combination of already well understood technologies, then the expert promoter is a clear success factor, particularly if only market potential innovativeness is high. However, when radically new technologies develop outside the organization, traditional core competences may become core rigidities. The experts of the past may prefer to stay on their traditional technological trajectories, instead of recognizing the value of new technologies, based on new technological principles, new architectures or new materials.
Eberhard Witte's second promoter in his two power centre theory, the hierarchical power holder, does not show any significant main effect, but two significantly negative interaction effects with technological innovativeness. In cases of radical technological change, power promoters appear to underestimate the technological uncertainty, which may lead to tremendous time and budget overruns. Prominent examples are Concorde, the A380, or the billing system Toll Collect for trucks using German motorways. Such negative evidence is not a completely new phenomenon, having already been found in the same data that Witte analysed, only in that case there was only a power promoter but no expert promoter (Gemünden, 1981). Gemünden and Lechler (1996) showed that power promoters set up projects which lacked strategic fit, they bypassed controlling procedures, and prevented the termination of projects which should have been terminated. On the product portfolio level, Ernst (2001) showed an inverted U-shaped relationship between top-management support and profitability, because in cases of too many resources the additional projects do not cover the cost of capital. Scholl, Hoffmann and Gierschner (2004) document further defects of power promoters which result from demotivation, if some individuals are treated preferentially and get support while others do not. The often used naïve statement that top-management support is a ‘success factor’ thus needs to be qualified.
Process promoters – who resemble champions in the US literature – have significant positive main influences on budget and target cost. However, with increasing technological innovativeness, they show significant negative interaction effects for time, quality and budget. These negative interaction effects with technological innovativeness are partly compensated by the fact that, in cases of increasing organizational innovativeness, process promoters appear to lower target cost, probably by bringing together people from different departments, better integrating externals, and by fostering required changes in structures and processes. Thus, the effect of process promoters depends very much on the kind of innovativeness and on their ability to open the organization to externally created innovations.
Technology-related relationship promoters, who are an extension of technological gatekeepers, show a very positive performance picture. First, they positively and directly affect quality and budget. Second, the positive influence on budget increases with increasing technological innovativeness. Third, there is a positive interaction effect for time and quality with increasing organizational innovativeness. There is only one negative interaction effect for budget with market potential innovativeness.
Market-related relationship promoters also show a very positive balanced scorecard, which is based on significant positive main effect for time, and positive interaction effects with technological innovativeness for time and quality. However, on the negative side, increasing organizational innovativeness shows negative interactions for time and quality.