The effectiveness of customer participation in new product development: a meta-analysis
Chang & Taylor
- Ideation stage: idea generation, concept testing. Firms engage customers to obtain
needs-related knowledge, evaluate potential of new product ideas, and refine
and/or select promising ideas for further consideration.
- Product development stage: product design, engineering. Customers can provide
- Launch stage: prototype testing, market launch, customers can test prototypes in a
real-use setting and help launch new products.
- Customer participation sometimes leads to inefficient NPD processes and poor NPD
- Customers can sometimes be limited sources of innovation because of their lack of
valuable creative ideas or inability to clearly articulate their latent needs.
- It can be difficult for firms to manage customer participation because of their
diminished managerial discretion and the increased complexity that comes of
reconciling firms’ objectives and customers’ interests.
- Four contingency factors that can independently or jointly influence the
effectiveness of customer participation:
o Contextual factors.
o Customer participation design factors.
o Relationship factors.
o Organizational factors.
- Customer participation improves NPD performance more in technologically
turbulent NPD projects, in emerging countries, in low-tech industries, for business
customers, and for small firms.
- In some situations, customer participation actually damages or generates non-
significant impacts on NPD performance.
Definitions of customer participation and NPD performance
- Customer participation: a customer’s involvement in the firm’s NPD process.
- Needs-related knowledge: refers to customers’ input about their needs and
- Solution-related knowledge: refers to customers’ input about potential ways to
- New product development performance: the success of new product development
- Three aspects of success:
o Operational performance: how effectively and efficiently the new product is
o Financial performance: how much economic return the new product realizes.
o Marketing performance: satisfaction and loyalty within the customer-firm
Customer participation in the firm’s knowledge management process