Market orientation and successful new product innovation: the role of competency traps Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Wei, Yinghong
    • Affiliation: Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • This study seeks to enhance understanding of successful new product innovation by developing and testing a new theory framework for explaining the market orientation-product innovation relationship in the context of firms' new product development (NPD) processes. Drawing on and adapting key concepts from organizational learning theory, and particularly in the area of capability-rigidity theory, the study investigates how market orientation may create rigidity, known as competency traps, that reduce innovation performance. Competency traps concern the propensity of a firm to continue relying on processes that have been successful in the past even though they are no longer optimal. Although the concept of competency traps was introduced in management literature more than a decade ago, it has been the focus of little conceptual development and no empirical research. Given the potential adverse consequences of competency traps in NPD, it is important that we understand the sources and impact of competency traps. This study develops an integrated conceptual framework to help researchers and managers identify and reduce the effect of competency traps on NPD. The development of a valid measure of competency traps should enable researchers and managers to better diagnose competency traps. Entrepreneurial orientation and network learning are suggested as the remedy to manage the possible adverse effects. The study includes a major survey of the responses of 113 marketing managers from a high-technology industrial zone in China. Structural equation modeling and reliability tests are used for data analysis. Three types of competency traps are identified: (1) vision traps, (2) technology traps, and (3) routinization traps. The newly developed scales demonstrate reasonably good validity and reliability. The findings show that customer orientation leads to a routinization trap. However, routinization traps are positively associated with NPD creativity and NPD efficiency. Vision traps are negatively associated with NPD creativity. The relationship between technology traps and new product innovation is indirect and moderated by entrepreneurial orientation and network learning. Entrepreneurial orientation but not network learning is the remedy for highly market-oriented firms to reduce technology traps. The implications, limitations, and future research directions are also discussed.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • O'Neill, Hugh
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.