Lead-using or lead-refusing? An examination of customer integration in mechanical engineering firms
by Guido Reger, Christian Schultz
International Journal of Technology Marketing (IJTMKT), Vol. 4, No. 2/3, 2009

Abstract: The significance of lead users as an important source for innovating new products or services is commonly acknowledged. Conventional accounts frequently elaborate upon ways to improve lead user integration with regard to opening up new avenues for further collaboration. Against this background, this study concentrates on qualitative data from the field of mechanical engineering and suggests that companies often deliberately refuse to engage with lead users. This unanticipated finding thwarts the supremacy of an uncritical integration of lead users and indicates that the extent to which lead users are integrated depends upon the nature of the product and the particularities of the relationship between the company and the respective lead user. The article concludes with a discussion, critical reflection and suggestions for future research.

Online publication date: Sat, 27-Jun-2009

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