Determinants of radical product innovation in the New Zealand food and beverage industry : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Product Development at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
This thesis presents an empirical study that investigates the radical product innovation phenomenon in the New Zealand food and beverage industry. Its major objectives are to posit and test determinants of radical product innovation and their relationship in explaining product innovativeness, using the New Zealand food and beverage industry as the study context. The New Zealand food and beverage industry was chosen because of its long history of successful radical product innovation and the importance of that industry to the New Zealand economy.
A conceptual model is proposed, based on the literature and content-validated through field interviews with five New Zealand food and beverage companies known to be innovative. The conceptual model is then theoretically-tested using quantitative data collected from 137 food and beverage companies in New Zealand. The research hypotheses were formulated to validate five posited determinants of radical product innovation, including their interrelationships in explaining and predicting product innovativeness. In addition, the study tests the effect of company characteristics on product innovativeness and projects the salient features of a typical highly innovative New Zealand food and beverage company.
The study confirmed the five posited determinants—top management innovation capability (TMIC), internal innovation capability (IIC), external networking capability (ENC), innovative organisational culture capability (IOCC), and innovative product development capability (IPDC)—are causally related to product innovativeness (PI). Of the 12 hypotheses that constitute the theory, four were not supported by data, in that the direct effects of TMIC on IPDC, IIC on IPDC, and ENC on IPDC were found to be non-significant (p > 0.05); also, the direct effect of IIC on ENC was found to be negative. The reasons for these discrepancies are discussed and the results are interpreted from a practical perspective.
In regard to the effect of company characteristics on PI, younger companies as well as larger companies were found to be more innovative than their older and smaller counterparts. The effect of foreign ownership was not supported by data, probably due to a small sample size of overseas owned companies. The study also shows that a highly innovative New Zealand food and beverage company typically scores highly in the scales ii
of the five posited determinants. Young (founded since 2011), and medium to large in size (50+ full-time employees) firms also tend to outperform their counterparts in PI.