The product development management literature is full of empirically based normative advice concerning the successful management of new product development. A number of consistent themes or issues derive from numerous new product development studies (Schewe, 1991; Barclay, 1992a; Craig & Hart, 1992). At the same time several studies have come to the conclusion that there is a wide gap between company practice and the normative advice (Cooper, 1991; Harmsen, 1992; Page, 1993) and also that the improvement of the product development function is a diffecult and not well-understood process (Barclay, 1992b; Harmsen, 1994). In this paper we suggest that in order to understand product development success and be able to develop product development competencies it is important that the understanding of new product development goes beyond the current level of organisational structures, specific activities and product and market characteristics to include aspects like individual and organisational skills, knowledge, values, and norms. We also argue that the focus on the mentioned aspects have limited the possibility of implementing the normative advice. Combining new product development literature with recent developments in competence-based competition and the resource-based view (Wernerfelt, 1994; Rumert, 1984) we link the concept of competencies to new product development and suggest a methodological approach for identifying product development competencies as a means to a fuller understanding of new product success that will also enable the generation of more implementable research results.
MAPP; Product development; Product development competencies; Values; Norms
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The 17th Annual National Business Conference, 1996