How do R&D employees use their social networks to acquire user information?
2014 (English)In: Journal of Knowledge Management, ISSN 1367-3270, Vol. 18, no 5, 919-936 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Purpose - This article aims to investigate how R&D employees use their social networks to acquire user information and how this information is used in the development of new products.
Design/methodology/approach - A single case study was conducted within a business unit at a multinational medical technology company. Data were collected through a mixed method.
Findings - The results show that many R&D employees lack social networks through which they can acquire information about the users' needs. However, some R&D employees establish cost-efficient relationships to people with a direct experience of using the company's products. These relationships are established over time and are often used in a rather informal way to acquire user information. Moreover, the results show how R&D employees are purposefully complementing these relationships with more occasional interactions with people who hold direct and indirect use experiences.
Research limitations/implications - As with most single-case studies, it will be important to replicate this investigation in other contexts to clarify the generalizability of the findings.
Practical implications - The article shows how important it is that management provides R&D employees with opportunities to establish, nurture and utilize relationships conducive to information about the users' needs. The article provides some advice on how this can be accomplished.
Originality/value - This is one of the first articles that clearly explain how R&D employees use their social networks to acquire user information for the development of new products.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 18, no 5, 919-936 p.
User information, Social networks, R&D, New product development, Medical technology
Economics and Business
Research subject Machine Design
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-151358DOI: 10.1108/JKM-06-2014-0245ISI: 000345148700006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84914098552OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-151358DiVA: diva2:748038
QC 20150112. Updated from accepted to published.2014-09-182014-09-182015-01-12Bibliographically approved