When Should RD&E and Marketing Collaborate? The Moderating Role of Exploration–Exploitation and Environmental Uncertainty
Article first published online: 13 OCT 2011
© 2011 Product Development & Management Association
Journal of Product Innovation Management
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 144–157, January 2012
How to Cite
Calantone, R. and Rubera, G. (2012), When Should RD&E and Marketing Collaborate? The Moderating Role of Exploration–Exploitation and Environmental Uncertainty. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29: 144–157. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00884.x
- Issue published online: 16 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 13 OCT 2011
Collaboration between research, development, and engineering (RD&E) and marketing has traditionally been regarded as beneficial for new product performance (NPP). However, some studies have pointed out the drawbacks of excessive collaboration. Because collaboration simultaneously presents costs and benefits that vary with conditions, a contingent view of managerial practices suggests that the optimal level of integration should vary according to some factors that indicate when high levels of collaboration are preferable to lower levels. Although the literature on the many different factors that may impact the desirable level of collaboration is abundant, only a few studies have investigated the role of the peculiar characteristics of the new products being developed. This is at odds with several calls for future research on the role of the characteristics of the new product. This paper investigates the moderating role of an explorative versus an exploitive innovation program. It also controls for the moderating role of environmental uncertainty, which has been traditionally considered a moderator of the relationship between RD&E–marketing collaboration and new product program performance.
The paper also investigates how a firm's innovation posture—a cultural trait—influences both directly and indirectly, via marketing's technical knowledge, RD&E–marketing collaboration. Indeed, several scholars have recognized that cultural differences create the main barrier between RD&E and marketing. Hence, a firm's culture should have an impact on the cultural barriers between the two departments. Further, the firm's innovation posture affects the extent to which the departments have to share resources and exchange information. In their seminal work, Gupta, Raj, and Wilemon argue that resource dependency is the main factor affecting the integration achieved between RD&E and marketing. Hence, an analysis of a firm's innovation posture is required to gain a deeper understanding of the antecedents of the collaboration between the two departments.
The antecedents and effects of RD&E–marketing collaboration are tested in a sample of 80 companies operating in the U.S. auto industry through partial least squares. The paper shows that the extent to which a company develops explorative rather than exploitative innovations is a better moderator than environmental uncertainty in the relationship between RD&E–marketing collaboration and new product program performance. This contradicts much previous literature and sheds light on a partially neglected construct in the new product development literature. Second, the paper demonstrates that firms with a more aggressive innovation posture tend to develop greater collaboration between RD&E and marketing. Also, the marketing department tends to have a better understanding of the RD&E processes and capabilities in companies with an aggressive innovation posture than in companies with a defensive one.