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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Antecedents and Consequences of Leveraging Customer Complaints in New Product Development

Published: May 27, 2020


Andreas Polthier, University of Mannheim; Sabine Kuester, University of Mannheim; Sergej von Janda, University of Mannheim


Customer complaints; Error management culture; New product development


Open innovation research shows the value of integrating customers in new product develop-ment. This research largely focuses on lead users, but little attention has been devoted to com-plaining customers. To address this gap, we explore antecedents and effects of customer com-plaint integration in new product development. Applying the knowledge-based view, this study investigates the influence of company structure on the extent of customer complaint integration and, ultimately, new product success. We posit that a company’s error manage-ment culture moderates the relationship between structure and customer complaint integration. We conduct a dual informant survey, targeting customer service managers and R&D manag-ers. This study adds to the field of open innovation by focusing on the neglected group of complainants to provide important implications for managers seeking to leverage the innova-tive potential of customer complaints.