Do social media tools impact the development phase? An exploratory study

Tucker J. Marion, Gloria Barczak, Erik Jan Hultink

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Abstract

Over the past two decades, firms have increasingly adopted information technology (IT) tools and services to improve the new product development (NPD) process. Recently, social media tools and/or tools that include social networking features are being utilized to allow users both inside and outside the organization to easily communicate and collaboratively design, manage, and launch new products and services. Unfortunately, there is little empirical evidence to suggest what influence these new IT tools have on NPD performance. Through a project-level, exploratory, empirical study, the impact of these new IT tools on the development phase of the NPD process is investigated. We find that the use of these new tools is significantly lower than the adoption of traditional IT tools such as e-mail and computer-aided-design. Traditional tools have a significant, positive impact on NPD outcomes, including team collaboration, the concepts/prototypes generated, and management evaluation. Interestingly, new media tools such as project wikis and shared collaboration spaces also have a significant, positive impact on concepts/prototypes generated, and management evaluation. Surprisingly, social networking tools like weblogs and Twitter negatively impact management evaluation while having no impact on NPD team collaboration and concepts/prototypes generated. These results suggest that social networking tools in their current guise are not helpful to the NPD team and may in fact be distracting to innovation management during the development phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Volume31
Early online date16 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

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