Top management attention to innovation: the role of search selection and intensity in
new product introductions
Li, Maggitti, Smith, Tesluk & Katila
- New products and services ae fundamental to organizational performance and
- The pace of new product introductions is a function of the search and identification
of new knowledge and information.
- A team that more effectively searches and acquires new knowledge and information
is able to make better strategic decisions, to innovate, and to grow its firm.
- Search: the controlled and proactive process of attending to, examining, and
evaluating new knowledge and information.
- Distant and unfamiliar search terrains are likely to be beneficial for innovation.
- Organizational search tends to be simple-minded, problem-oriented, and local.
- Search across firms varies in degree between search that exploits existing knowledge
and search that explores and identifies new knowledge.
- We develop a theory of managerial search that explains the link between top
management team search and subsequent new product introductions.
- Attention: a cognitive process that involves the noticing, interpretation, and focusing
of time and effort on the acquisition of knowledge and information. Consists of
attention selection and attention intensity.
- Search selection: focuses on the location managers select to direct their attention to
- Search intensity: emphasizes the cognitive effort and persistence managers use
- We argue that new product introductions are positively influenced by the novel
information to which top management teams (TMTs) attend as a result of their
unfamiliar, distant, and diverse search selection.
Managerial search and new product innovation
- The more expansive the search terrain in which a search takes place, the greater the
likelihood of finding new information and knowledge that leads to new product
- TMTs are responsible for the firm’s key strategic decisions.
- The identification of novel information and knowledge is a key input to new product
- Search that directs attention toward new information and knowledge or enables the
discovery of new ways to combine knowledge leads the searcher to develop new
behaviors, interactions, strategies, and processes that are useful in NPD.
- Managers’ limited attentional capacity necessitates that they select parts of their
terrain to attend to.
- Search selection reflects the direction of a searcher’s focus and is likely to influence
the outcomes of search.