Exploring Robust Design Capabilities, Their Role in Creating Global Products, and Their Relationship to Firm Performance*
Published on Mar 1, 2005in Journal of Product Innovation Management3.78
· DOI :10.1111/j.0737-6782.2005.00111.x
With the increasing desire for products suitable for widely varying markets worldwide, this study offers insight into capabilities associated with successful robust design in global product markets. These robust design capabilities (i.e., the possibility for success under varying circumstances or scenarios) are a potential organizational response to rapid change and uncertainty, which also improve the likelihood of product acceptance on a global basis. From literature, executive interviews, and anecdotal evidence, four capabilities associated with robust product design are derived: (1) functional; (2) aesthetic; (3) technological; and (4) quality based. A model is proposed and an empirical test conducted that considers the moderating influence of environmental uncertainty on the relationship between these robust capabilities and firm performance. The findings suggest that the use of robust design capabilities are affected by uncertainty and have an important influence on firm performance and speed to market. Specifically, the product development process tends to be characterized by aesthetic and technological robust design capabilities in more certain environments and functional robust design capabilities in more uncertain environments when seeking to improve firm performance. Alternatively, technological design capabilities in more certain environments and functional design capabilities in more uncertain environments are associated with improved speed to market.