Growth and Development of a Body of Knowledge: 16 Years of New Product Development Research, 1989–2004


  • *The authors would like to thank the JPIM editor and anonymous reviewers who made many useful suggestions for improving this article. The suggestions of anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of this article presented at the Product Development & Management Association conference were also valuable in improving this article.

Address correspondence to: Albert L. Page, University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 South Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607. Tel.: (312) 996-6233. E-mail:


In this study, a content analysis was performed on 815 articles focused on new product development (NPD) published in 10 selected leading marketing, management, NPD, and research and development (R&D) journals from 1989 to 2004. Journals selected were a combination of leading journals in the discipline and publications that included NPD articles. NPD articles were classified by a series of key attributes including methodology employed, domains of knowledge utilized, and broad topics explored. The resulting data were then studied to discern trends over time or common characteristics within domains, methodologies, or journals. The study of NPD has grown since the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) was launched in 1984. This study shows strong growth in the number of articles on NPD in each category of journal selected. The research in the articles has changed: The early focus on a few selected success factors or a staged development process has evolved and broadened over the 16-year period. More variables and more sophisticated models are being studied in NPD articles. The study found a continuing evolution in research topics and increased sophistication in quantitative techniques over the 16-year period. Overall this review of the NPD literature uncovers encouraging signs of a maturing discipline. However, there are concerns about continuing issues in methodology, insufficient study of service innovation, and continued focus on process characteristics instead of other antecedents of NPD success. The service sector seems to be understudied, even as the reality of a service economy is generally acknowledged. The call in a recent meta-analysis to focus more on market and product characteristics and less on process characteristics has not yet been heeded, even by marketing researchers.