Title: The role of knowledge acquisition in facilitating customer involvement in product development: examining the mediation effect of absorptive capacity

Authors: Samer E. Dahiyat; Zu'bi M.F. Al-Zu'bi

Addresses: Department of Business Management, Faculty of Business, University of Jordan, P.O.BOX 13276, Amman Postal Code 11942, Jordan. ' Department of Business Management, Faculty of Business, University of Jordan, P.O.BOX 13276, Amman Postal Code 11942, Jordan

Abstract: Knowledge management has often been linked to product development, innovation, and customisation. In particular, effective exploitation of customer knowledge, through engaging customers in a process of co-creation of products, exemplifies such a link. Accordingly, this research aims to identify those dimensions of knowledge management activities believed to enable an organisation to acquire and absorb new knowledge, which may facilitate the involvement of customers/lead users in product development activities. Using empirical data from a survey of 311 UK manufacturing companies, a three-dimensional knowledge acquisition construct emerged through employing Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analyses (EFA) and (CFA), namely: Diverse stakeholder communication, capability-enhancing partnerships, and external knowledge assistance. Moreover, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) findings show a significant and positive relationship between the resulting knowledge acquisition construct and customer involvement. Interestingly, absorptive capacity was proven to fully mediate such a relationship, highlighting its central role in unlocking the potential of externally-acquired knowledge and incorporating it into an organisation's product development activities.

Keywords: knowledge acquisition; absorptive capacity; product development; customer involvement; innovation; customer knowledge; UK; United Kingdom; manufacturing industry; SEM; structural equation modelling; mediation effect; KM; knowledge management; customisation; co-creation; new knowledge; lead users; CFA; confirmatory factor analysis; EFA; exploratory factor analysis; stakeholder communication; capability-enhancement; partnerships; external assistance; knowledge assistance; learning; change.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2012.050868

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2012 Vol.6 No.3/4, pp.171 - 206

Received: 30 Apr 2012
Accepted: 10 Aug 2012

Published online: 06 Dec 2012 *

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