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Behind the scenes: Addressing dual pressures for product standardization and adaptation in new product development in multinational corporations

Behind the scenes: Addressing dual pressures for product standardization and adaptation in new product development in multinational corporations
Behind the scenes: Addressing dual pressures for product standardization and adaptation in new product development in multinational corporations
Purpose
Prior studies on product standardization–adaptation in multinational corporations (MNCs) have revealed environmental factors that can influence the choices of MNCs. However, these studies have not shown how these choices are made behind the scenes in new product development (NPD). In many industries, MNCs face the dual pressures for product standardization and adaptation from the environment. This study aims to explore how MNCs facing dual pressures can make choices of product standardization–adaptation in NPD.

Design/methodology/approach
A qualitative case study of four high-performing MNCs was conducted. The four MNCs were selected using the theoretical sampling approach. Data were collected, mainly through 74 semi-structured interviews. Coding was conducted and four aggregate dimensions were generated.

Findings
This study reveals that choices of product standardization–adaptation are made through a process in MNCs’ NPD, including four steps – organizing for NPD, organizational diversity, cross-unit integration and combination of design practices. In addition, MNCs adopt different process variants to address different environmental pressures.

Research limitations/implications
This research focuses on high-performing MNCs in manufacturing industries. Future research can explore different types of firms.

Practical implications
Managers in MNCs should focus more on the process of choices for product standardization–adaptation, than on the level of product standardization–adaptation. They should also keep monitoring the environmental pressure and employ experienced engineers.

Originality/value
By focusing on NPD, the authors shift the attention from product standardization–adaptation to product feature standardization–adaptation in MNCs, which is a fresh and refined perspective. The authors show a process in NPD composed of activities and mechanisms that managers might use for handling product standardization–adaptation challenges in MNCs. The authors contribute to the area of cross-unit integration in MNCs’ NPD by revealing mental mechanisms for mitigating tensions in cross-unit interactions.
0309-0566
1061-1085
Liu, Yang
77b48647-5646-4aec-8c3d-cc9d9bd02f4e
Shi, Yongjiang
b9cfbaee-dff4-4c26-be7c-cea3fca67eb0
Liu, Yang
77b48647-5646-4aec-8c3d-cc9d9bd02f4e
Shi, Yongjiang
b9cfbaee-dff4-4c26-be7c-cea3fca67eb0

Liu, Yang and Shi, Yongjiang (2020) Behind the scenes: Addressing dual pressures for product standardization and adaptation in new product development in multinational corporations. European Journal of Marketing, 54 (5), 1061-1085. (doi:10.1108/EJM-02-2018-0153).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose
Prior studies on product standardization–adaptation in multinational corporations (MNCs) have revealed environmental factors that can influence the choices of MNCs. However, these studies have not shown how these choices are made behind the scenes in new product development (NPD). In many industries, MNCs face the dual pressures for product standardization and adaptation from the environment. This study aims to explore how MNCs facing dual pressures can make choices of product standardization–adaptation in NPD.

Design/methodology/approach
A qualitative case study of four high-performing MNCs was conducted. The four MNCs were selected using the theoretical sampling approach. Data were collected, mainly through 74 semi-structured interviews. Coding was conducted and four aggregate dimensions were generated.

Findings
This study reveals that choices of product standardization–adaptation are made through a process in MNCs’ NPD, including four steps – organizing for NPD, organizational diversity, cross-unit integration and combination of design practices. In addition, MNCs adopt different process variants to address different environmental pressures.

Research limitations/implications
This research focuses on high-performing MNCs in manufacturing industries. Future research can explore different types of firms.

Practical implications
Managers in MNCs should focus more on the process of choices for product standardization–adaptation, than on the level of product standardization–adaptation. They should also keep monitoring the environmental pressure and employ experienced engineers.

Originality/value
By focusing on NPD, the authors shift the attention from product standardization–adaptation to product feature standardization–adaptation in MNCs, which is a fresh and refined perspective. The authors show a process in NPD composed of activities and mechanisms that managers might use for handling product standardization–adaptation challenges in MNCs. The authors contribute to the area of cross-unit integration in MNCs’ NPD by revealing mental mechanisms for mitigating tensions in cross-unit interactions.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 8 March 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 April 2020
Published date: 5 May 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 455868
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/455868
ISSN: 0309-0566
PURE UUID: 65ff466e-5661-47e2-8c13-26756bab1d92
ORCID for Yang Liu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9540-9719

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Apr 2022 16:37
Last modified: 28 Feb 2024 03:13

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Contributors

Author: Yang Liu ORCID iD
Author: Yongjiang Shi

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