Managing Perceptual Distance to Enhance NPD Project Performance

May 1st 2016 – April 30th 2019

Project description
Companies are increasingly dependent for their innovation (i.e., NPD performance) on their supply base, as suppliers hold complementary knowledge and expertise related to the components and products that make up the company’s customer value proposition. However, within buyer-supplier relationships, chances are that partners primarily behave out of self-interest, even within collaborative settings. As partners have different backgrounds, interests, and objectives, espoused values and perceptions of project staff may interfere with effective collaboration. Perceptual distance among innovation partners in this research is assumed to be an important cause for misalignment, conflict, and distrust which adversely affect NPD performance.

Extant research on the effects of perceptual distance on NPD performance is still sparse. Hence, this PhD research project is aimed at investigating the phenomenon, its underlying causes as well as the effects of perceptual distance on buyer-supplier collaboration. Empirical research will be conducted studying dyadic buyer-seller relationships, meaning that data is gathered from both partners in the relationship, using a variety of research methods (i.e., qualitative case study, longitudinal survey research) and assessing buyer-seller interactions at different time intervals. The research should result in a business tool that will enable companies to measure, map, and manage perceptual distance in complex innovation project settings.

Project members
·     Ir. Christiaan van der Krift (TU/e)
·     Prof. dr. Arjan van Weele (TU/e)
·     Dr. Josette Gevers (TU/e) 

The project is preceded by a master thesis. A manuscript drawn from that work is currently under review. Meanwhile, we have commenced a second round of (longitudinal) data collection with a larger sample of projects.  

Van der Krift,H. J. C., Van Weele, A. J., & Gevers, J. M. P. (under review). How perceptual distance between buyer and supplier affects project outcomes. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Chain (IF: 2.56)

Contact person
Dr. J.M.P. Gevers
Phone: +31 (0)40 247 4178