Problem solving, a process of seeking, defining, evaluating, and implementing the solutions, is considered a converter that can translate organizational inputs into valuable product and service outputs. A key challenge for the product innovation community is to answer questions about how knowledge competence and problem-solving competence develop and sustain competitive advantage. The objective of this study is to theoretically examine and empirically test an existing assumption that problem-solving competence is an important variable connecting market knowledge competence with new product performance. New product projects from 396 firms in the high-technology zones in China were used to test the study's theoretical model. The results first indicate that problem-solving speed and creativity matter in new product innovation performance by playing mediator roles between market knowledge competence and positional advantage, which in turn sustains superior performance. This new insight suggest that mere generation of market knowledge and having a marketing-research and development (R&D) interface will not affect new product performance unless project members have the ability to use the information and to interact to identify and solve complex problems speedily and creatively. Second, these results suggest that different market knowledge competences (customers, competitors, and interactions between marketing and R&D) have distinct impacts on problem-solving speed and creativity (positive, negative, or none), which underscore the need to embrace a more fine-grained notion of market knowledge competence. The results also reveal that the relative importance of some of these relationships depends on the perceived level of turbulence in the environment. First, competitor knowledge competence decreases problem-solving speed when perceived environmental turbulence is low but enhances problem-solving speed when perceived turbulence is high. Second, competitor knowledge competence has a positive relationship with new product performance when the environmental turbulence is high but no relationship when the environmental turbulence is low. Third, the positive relationship between problem-solving speed and product advantage is stronger when the perceived environmental turbulence is high than when it is low, which implies that problem solving is more important for creating product advantage when environmental turbulence is high and change is fast and unpredictable. Fourth, the negative relationship between problem-solving speed and new product performance is stronger when the perceived environmental turbulence is high than when it is low, which means that problem-solving speed is more harmful for new product performance when change is fast and unpredictable. And fifth, the positive relationship between product quality and new product performance is stronger when perceived environmental turbulence is low than when it is high, which implies that product quality may more likely lead to new product performance when the environment is stable and changes are easy to predict, analyze, and comprehend.
International Journal of Research in Marketing
Extant studies concerning the relationship between market orientation and new product performance have produced inconclusive results. Drawing on the contingency theory, the authors argue that one reason for these mixed results may be the lack of an appropriate reward system within the new product development process. This study theoretically and empirically examines the moderating role of reward systems in the relationship between market orientation and new product performance. The authors conducted interviews and surveys in China. The moderating effects suggest that Chinese firms should simultaneously use both a high-level, long-term-oriented reward system and a low-level, risk-taking reward system in order to enhance the positive effects of market orientation on new product performance. The results provide a more refined understanding of how the interplay between marketing and human resource management influences the implementation of market orientation and new product innovation. Published by Elsevier B.V.