Annika Hassum; Andreas Pettersson , pp. 72. MAM/Sektionen för Management, 2012.
To meet market needs, high-technology companies need to integrate their marketing and R&D functions in their New Product Development (NPD) programs. Despite extensive research on factors affecting R&D/marketing integration, resulting in several manager improvement recommendations, the conflicts at the R&D/marketing interface during NPD remains a problem the industry. Research has shown strong cross-national differences in the R&D/marketing interface, which affects how integration is achieved in different cultures. To our knowledge, no R&D/marketing interface research has been conducted in Scandinavia. The purpose with our research study was to investigate if the R&D/marketing interfaces in Scandinavian companies are also characterized with friction and conflict. The aim was also to find out if other factors affect R&D/marketing integration in the Scandinavian companies than in other cultures, due to the commonly practiced Scandinavian consensus leadership style with group decision making.
An extensive literature research was conducted to explore the conflict in the R&D interface; factors affecting R&D/marketing integration; and the role of management in Scandinavian NPD companies. Based on the literature review findings, a two-phased sequential mixed research approach was used. First a quantitative survey was conducted, where data was collected from 48 professionals on their views on the R&D/marketing interface. Secondly, 11 interviews were conducted at three large Scandinavian NPD companies.
Our research concludes that there is friction, and even open conflicts, in the R&D/marketing interface in Scandinavian companies. We found that marketing seems to perceive a greater level of conflict than R&D during the NPD process: This may partly be explained by the fact that top management often implicitly signals that R&D efforts are more important than marketing during NDP. Our findings indicate that the conflict starts at the corporate top level, and since top management can’t agree on joint directives for R&D and marketing, the power struggle is pushed down to the NPD teams. We also found that the investigated Scandinavian companies all have decision climates characterized by the Scandinavian consensus leadership style and this affects the R&D/marketing integration and lead to poor decision in the NPD teams with comprise products as results. We conclude that Scandinavian managers need to present clearer corporate directives to avoid dysfunctional NPD teams developing products based on compromise solutions.
Annika Hassum, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andreas Pettersson, email@example.com