Innovation field orientation and its effect on innovativeness and firm performance

Søren Salomo, Katrin Talke, Nanja Strecker

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


New product development (NPD) has become a prime source for gaining a competitive edge in the market. Although a large body of research has addressed the question of how to successfully manage individual innovation projects, the management of a firm's new product portfolio has received comparably less research attention. A phenomenon that has recently emerged on the research agenda is innovation field orientation. Such orientation is understood as the deliberate setup and management of multiple thematically related NPD projects. However, the facets and effects of innovation field orientation are still unexplored. In particular, this study is interested in (1) developing a concept of innovation field orientation, (2) investigating the extent to which innovation field orientation is an established part of the corporate strategic planning practice, and (3) assessing the direct and indirect performance effects of innovation field orientation. For the empirical analysis, data were collected through a mail survey and document analyses from 122 publicly listed firms. Tobin's q was used as an objective performance metric directly related to shareholder value. The results confirm that innovation field orientation is a phenomenon that prevails in practice. In addition, all defining aspects of this orientation have either direct or indirect effects on firm performance. Hence, those firms that deliberately specify and manage innovation fields have a more innovative product portfolio and are more successful than others. Specifically, the findings underline the performance relevance of formally framing innovation fields and assigning a critical mass of resources to them. In addition, empirical support is lent to the suggestion that innovation field orientation has strong indirect performance effects mediated by the innovativeness of the firm's new product portfolio. This implies that firms that deliberately specify focus areas, assign resources to, provide organizational framing for, and stimulate synergies between related NPD projects stand a better chance to achieve a more innovative new product portfolio. This again is highly appreciated by investors and results in a superior stock market evaluation of these firms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)560-576
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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