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Time Versus Market Orientation in Product Concept Development: Empirically-Based Theory Generation


  • Gary Burchill

    (Navy Ships Parts Control Center, United States Navy, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17055-0788)

  • Charles H. Fine

    (Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139)


In collaboration with industry partners, a normative model of the product concept decision process was developed, supported with tools and techniques, and codified as a decision support process for product development teams. This process (Concept Engineering) was then introduced into a number of product development teams in different companies. A comparative analysis of actual product concept development activities, with and without the use of Concept Engineering, was conducted. All of the observed teams viewed time to market as a critical measure of their success. However, the development processes differed significantly depending on whether relatively more emphasis was placed on time or market considerations. Key variables associated with the product concept development decision process and time-to-market dynamics were identified and a theory of the concept development process was developed using the inductive system diagram technique, a research methodology developed in the course of this work. We believe this work contributes to the operations management literature in three ways. First, it introduces a very detailed, structured decision process for product concept development, enhancing the literature on Quality Function Deployment (QFD). Second, it presents a theory of product concept development that can improve understanding of success and failure in product concept development. Third, this work develops new methodology (Inductive Systems Diagrams) for field work in operations management. This methodology marries the grounded theory methods familiar to sociologists with causal-loop modeling familiar to systems dynamicists, yielding a rigorous tool for systematically collecting, organizing, and distilling large amounts of field-based data.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Burchill & Charles H. Fine, 1997. "Time Versus Market Orientation in Product Concept Development: Empirically-Based Theory Generation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(4), pages 465-478, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:4:p:465-478

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    Cited by:

    1. V. Krishnan & Karl T. Ulrich, 2001. "Product Development Decisions: A Review of the Literature," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 1-21, January.
    2. Chan, Lai-Kow & Wu, Ming-Lu, 2002. "Quality function deployment: A literature review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 143(3), pages 463-497, December.
    3. Scott A. Shane & Karl T. Ulrich, 2004. "50th Anniversary Article: Technological Innovation, Product Development, and Entrepreneurship in Management Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 133-144, February.
    4. Ford, David N. & Sterman, John., 1997. "Expert knowledge elicitation to improve mental and formal models," Working papers WP 3953-97., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    5. Kok, Robert A.W. & Hillebrand, Bas & Biemans, Wim G., 2002. "Market-oriented product development as an organizational learning capability: findings from two cases," Research Report 02B13, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    6. Kwon, Yung-Chul & Hu, Michael Y., 2000. "Market orientation among small Korean exporters," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 61-75, February.
    7. Federico Cosenz & Guido Noto, 2016. "Applying System Dynamics Modelling to Strategic Management: A Literature Review," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(6), pages 703-741, November.
    8. Marshall Fisher, 2007. "Strengthening the Empirical Base of Operations Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 368-382, December.
    9. Pagani, Margherita & Fine, Charles H., 2008. "Value network dynamics in 3G-4G wireless communications: A systems thinking approach to strategic value assessment," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(11), pages 1102-1112, November.
    10. repec:dgr:rugsom:02b13 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Yearworth, Mike & White, Leroy, 2013. "The uses of qualitative data in multimethodology: Developing causal loop diagrams during the coding process," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 231(1), pages 151-161.


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