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    Turning the sword: how NPD teams cope with front-end tensions

    Andriopoulos, C. and Gotsi, Manto and Lewis, M. and Ingram, A. (2017) Turning the sword: how NPD teams cope with front-end tensions. Journal of Product Innovation Management 35 (3), pp. 427-445. ISSN 1540-5885.

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    Front-end new product development (NPD) is fraught with tensions that fuel and inhibit innovation. According to paradox theory, tensions pose a double-edged sword, sparking learning and creativity or anxiety and counterpro- ductive responses. NPD teams’ shared understandings—how they think about (cognition) and approach (motiva- tion) tensions—turn the sword. Existing literature examines innovation tensions and their management. Yet scholars call for deeper dives, seeking research that unpacks cognitive and motivational drivers underlying how NPD teams cope with tensions. This paper responds, presenting a four-year inductive study of five NPD consul- tancies. Across cases, findings explicate the roles of paradoxical cognitive frames and regulatory motivational focus. Across firms, the front-end NPD teams framed tensions paradoxically. Three frames—guided freefall, benevolent dictatorship, and cohesive diversity—helped teams develop shared understandings of tensions as para- doxical, posing competing yet interdependent demands. Teams varied, however, in their regulatory focus, influenc- ing how they applied the frames to approach tensions. In the most innovative case, teams applied a promotion focus, energized to explore tensions in search of more creative alternatives and synergies. In less innovative cases, teams applied a prevention focus, motivated to avoid risk and loss. Together, paradoxical frames and regulatory focus shaped teams’ coping behaviors and resulting innovation. Resulting theory posits the interplay among cog- nitive, motivational, and behavioral drivers of innovation. Results offer three contributions. First, this study extends understanding of antecedents to team innovation and front-end NPD. Second, findings deepen insights into team cognition and paradoxical frames. Last, the theoretical framework explicates how cognitive- motivational interactions enable coping behaviors that foster innovation. The conclusion poses managerial and research implications. Building from paradox theory this study suggests means to foster shared paradoxical frames and promotion focus in NPD teams. Further, study limitations highlight opportunities to extend its general- izability and elaborate underlying drivers of innovation.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Innovation Management Research, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Manto Gotsi
    Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2019 15:49
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:53


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