The interplay between technology characteristics, R&D internationalisation, and new product introduction: Empirical evidence from the energy conservation sector
Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli
Developing marketable products based on proprietary technologies is the key to success in many firms, but it is still a big challenge. Factors explaining when technologies are more likely to lead to a marketable product are not fully understood yet. This gap calls for further research on this important topic. The present paper addresses this issue by focusing on specific characteristics of technologies - i.e., their nature as breakthrough technologies and their generality - which can be considered as suitable predictors of new product introduction (NPI). Specifically, we study if and how these characteristics affect the likelihood of NPI. Moreover, in our research model, we argue that the effects of technology characteristics on NPI are contingent upon the degree of a firm's R&D internationalisation. We examine this moderating firm-level factor in a cross-level study design. We develop several hypotheses and test them with objective patent and novel trademark data. In detail, the analyses are based on a unique and longitudinal sample of 11,385 patents and 1,783 trademarks registered at the USPTO in the energy conservation sector by 696 different companies. By adopting hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), we reveal that the likelihood of NPI is positively related to the breakthrough nature of technologies; this effect turns negative when the level of breakthrough nature is very high. Instead, technological generality has a negative influence on NPI. Finally, the degree to which firms internationalise their R&D activities negatively moderates those relationships.
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