Purpose - Aims to ascertain whether a well-known theory within consumer research - a means-end chain (MEC) - can be used as a catalyst to achieve market oriented product development. Design/methodology/approach - Describes a case study, involving a Danish food manufacturer, where a MEC approach was introduced to a cross-functional development team at two different stages of the development process. Findings - Results show that MEC data is perceived as a good way of gaining knowledge about consumers; that the information serves well as the basis of discussions and for keeping project goals fixed. The resukts also indicate that MEC data are most valuable to the team in the early stages of the development process and that lack of a learning orientation may inhibit the effects of a MEC approach. Originality/value - The MEC approach shows clear advantages for market oriented product development.
European Journal of Innovation Management, 2005, Vol 8, Issue 1, p. 79-90