Technology-Scanning Capability and Market-Scanning Capability as Drivers of Product Innovation Performance
Alam, Md Shahedul
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Changing trends in customer preference, competitors’ offerings, new technologies and development techniques may disrupt a firm from its current leading market position and may favor other firms that prioritize innovation. Once a market opportunity is identified (i.e., find an answer to the ‘what to do’ question), firms need to engage in a series of activities and information processing to determine an appropriate way to monetize that opportunity – that is, firms need to find an answer to the ‘how to do’ question. Alternately, a firm may first identify a technological opportunity (i.e. find an answer to the ‘how to do’) and then find a market opportunity (i.e. find an answer to the ‘what to do’ question) to make use of the technological opportunity. Two scales that measure the capabilities of firms to address the following two questions – ‘what to do’ and ‘how to do’ - were reported; these were labelled as market-scanning capability (MktScan) and technology-scanning capability (TechScan); and these two scales were also tested in a broader research model. In turbulent environments, marketing and R&D become more challenging, since they face an uncertain future. Firms need to learn systemic scanning and decoding of apparently random changes in their business environment and imagine a pattern that makes sense. One cannot plan for uncertainty. A better strategy is to be prepared for it. One way to prepare is to develop the capabilities that would help the firm to become more adaptive. Drucker (1992) also argued that instead of planning for the long term that is uncertain, firms needed to become adaptive to tackle uncertainty. The ability of a firm to adapt to the changes depends on its ability to sense the nature of the changes in its business environment and respond to those. Sense-and-respond framework (Haeckel 1999; Haeckel 2000; Day and Schoemaker 2006) was proposed to emphasize the identification of weak signals (Ansoff 1975) to tackle increased uncertainty in business environment. In current days, effectiveness of firm’s activities often depends on the richness of its sources of information and its capability to process the collected information to identify the patterns of change happening in its business environments. Information processing may happen in two dimensions: in market dimension and in technology dimension. Firms’ capabilities for information collecting and processing in these two dimensions were measured using two firm-level constructs. These are market-scanning capability and technology-scanning capability. Resource-based theory helped to understand how firms use their tangible and intangible resources to compete in the market. Specific problem-solving aspects of the processes, activities, and cultural norms enable firms to make decisions about engaging the available resources and capabilities in ways that maximize customer value, by realizing the identified opportunities into product and service offerings. This research identified the characteristic strength of this problem-solving approach of firms – collecting information both internally and externally about possible market opportunities and technological options, organization-wide processing of that information, and taking actions to respond using insights gained – as two latent constructs called ‘market-scanning capability’ and ‘technology-scanning capability’. The concepts of ‘market-scanning capability’ and ‘technology-scanning capability’ were first defined and then, scales were developed to enable researchers and managers to measure these firm-level constructs. Next, the predictive roles of these capabilities on firm performance were examined. Empirical analysis for scale development and validation of the research model were performed with data collected through a web-based survey of Canadian manufacturing firms. Firm performance was captured in two stages – first, by product innovation performance, and second, by overall firm performance. Product innovation performance was used as an intermediate performance measure to examine the direct influence on it of market-scanning capability and technology-scanning capability, and then, to relate product innovation performance to final business outcome measured using ‘overall firm performance’ scale. The study validated the notion of resource-based theory by supporting the belief that higher levels of market-scanning capability and technology-scanning capability would lead to improved product innovation performance. The role of environmental turbulence was also examined for its possible moderating effect. Two measures of environmental turbulence, namely, technology and market turbulence were used to test the moderation effect. The technology turbulence construct was found to have a moderating effect on the relationship between technology-scanning capability and product innovation performance, indicating that firms needed to focus more attention on the changes in the technology landscape when turbulence in the technological field was perceived to be higher, in order to keep the same level of product innovation performance. Insight gained from the study contributed to a knowledge-base that might be useful to both practitioners and researchers. The combination of TechScan and MktScan scales could be used as a benchmark tool by managers to assess firms’ readiness to take advantage of the opportunities that existed. On the theoretical side, the study contributed to the understanding by showing that both market-scanning capability and technology-scanning capability had direct and indirect influences on firm performance. Also, it was found that the indirect influence of a certain scanning capability became important when firms were pre-disposed to emphasize the other scanning capability.
Cite this work
Md Shahedul Alam (2011). Technology-Scanning Capability and Market-Scanning Capability as Drivers of Product Innovation Performance. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/6137