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

Date of Completion

January 1997


Business Administration, Marketing|Business Administration, Management|Engineering, Industrial




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. ^