The role of market entry timing in the evaluation of manufacturing technology innovations

                         Daniel, Harold Zane, Jr.; PhD

                         THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT, 1997

                         Application of strategic new technologies is a key requirement for the maintenance of a firm's competitive
                         advantage in most markets. The process by which organizations adopt and apply innovative technology
                         products is the subject of investigation. This study of innovation processes includes both individual
                         champion behavior and organizational adoption behavior. In technology markets characterized by rapid
                         evolution in both markets and technology, timing seems likely to be an important consideration in the
                         adoption process. This research investigates the impact of the timing of the decision to acquire a specific
                         high speed machining and laser cutting technology on the propensity to champion the adoption and the
                         impact of timing on the outcome of the adoption decision. Timing is defined as the temporal distance
                         between the actual or forecast decision date and the temporal reference point (TRP), the time when the
                         firm's management expects to begin to realize negative outcomes should it fail to adopt the specific
                         technology. On this basis time gains (when the decision pre-dates the TRP) and losses (when the
                         decision post-dates the TRP) can be identified. Along with timing, the model of champion behavior also
                         included measures of perceived value and personal risk. The organization adoption model also included
                         measures for strategic intent, risk and decision complexity. While timing was not found to significantly
                         influence champion behavior, it did seem to influence the adoption behavior of the organization. Most
                         adoption decisions were found to occur in a region of time loss. In conformance with prospect theory
                         prediction increasing time losses (decisions which increasing post-date the TRP) result in delayed
                         adoption. The date of a management team's TRP was also found to be related to the date of subsequent
                         adoption decisions. These findings have implications for marketing theory, practice and research. The
                         temporal reference point is a potential means of identifying early adopters, key prospects, optimum
                         timing for new product introduction, and candidate R & D projects for acceleration. It also provides a basis
                         for forecasting the development of markets for technology products, and potentially enabling
                         experimental designs in domains unaccustomed to such research, e.g., the diffusion of innovations.

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