Title: The role of leader personality in new product development success: an examination of teams developing radical and incremental innovations

Authors: Zvi H. Aronson, Richard R. Reilly, Gary S. Lynn

Addresses: Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA. ' Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA. ' Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Stevens Institute of Technology Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA

Abstract: Teams developing innovations work in a context ripe with uncertainty, and handling this uncertainty places special demands on the leaders of such teams. We empirically tested the role of leader personality in the success of two different types of New Product Development (NPD) teams: radical and incremental. Using the five-factor model of personality as a framework, results based on a sample of 116 NPD teams suggest that for NPD leaders, conscientiousness and emotional stability are important variables for NPD success. Additionally, depending upon the type of innovation, specific personality variables may be more important. Strong support was found for our proposal that NPD teams working on radical innovations would benefit from a more open leader. Radical NPD teams operate under conditions of market and technical uncertainty. More open leaders should be more easily able to encourage and handle new ideas that are necessary for managing radical innovations. Implications for selection and training of individuals to lead radical NPD teams are provided.

Keywords: leader personality; new product development; NPD success; NPD teams; success factors; leadership; radical innovation; incremental innovation; uncertainty.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.020696

International Journal of Technology Management, 2008 Vol.44 No.1/2, pp.5 - 27

Available online: 12 Oct 2008 *

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