Understanding the Political Dynamics of Developing New Products

By Beth A Benjamin
1993| Working Paper No. 1271

A qualitative inductive field study of a market-driven development effort is used to generate a model of political influence in new product development. The data indicate susceptible to political activity. These contexts are shaped by the joint control of resources, the diverse mix of participants involved, and the divergent skills and expectations that participants bring with them. As the mix of personnel and resources shifts over time, participants respond with varying levels of political sophistication and use a number of different influence tactics to further their every-evolving objectives. Networking, orchestrating decision structures, procedural isomorphism, and the strategic positioning of outcomes were tactics used to alter the activities, attributions, and results of the effort studied here. The study advances our understanding of product development in particular, and innovation in general, by identifying the political dynamics by which substantive and symbolic influences recursively interact to shape intangible organizational outcomes.