The role of globalization, time acceleration, and virtual global teams in fostering successful global product launches

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Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Harvey, M. & Griffith, D. A. (2007). The role of globalization, time acceleration, and virtual global teams in fostering successful global product launches. Journal of product innovation management, 24(5), 486-501.

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2007 HERDC submission.

© Copyright Product Development & Management Association, 2007


The present article presents a conceptualization of how firms can respond to the issues of globalization and time-based competition through the use of virtual global teams to foster successful global product launches. It is argued that by combining input, managerial, and transformation-based competencies effectively, the firm can configure a repertoire of strategic choices (e.g., marketing plans throughout the product development process) based on the national competitive environment, while at the same time being mindful of the need to maintain consistency within the firm's intermediaries operations—both in product development and global product launch. It is further argued that the linkages between globalization and time-based competition necessitate managerial adjustments in decision frameworks to incorporate accelerated timescapes to maximize effectiveness in global product launch. In an effort to capture the varying impact of time on global decision makers a timescapes perspective is employed, where timescapes are analogous to landscapes because they include the temporal features of socioeconomic events in a variety of socially constructed contexts inclusive of timeframe, tempo, degree of path dependency, synchronization of events, sequence, anticipation, and ubiquity. The recognition of timescapes accentuates the contextual complexity of competition and creates the interface among events, environments, and individuals beyond the traditional numeric concept of clock time, thus requiring modification of a manager's decision-making perspective. Further, it is argued that due to the rapid pace of globalization, many multinationals in their global product launches require that products, services, technical support, and prices throughout the world need to be coordinated. To effectively accomplish this goal of coordination as an accommodation, firms and their networks can form global virtual teams (i.e., culturally diverse, geographically dispersed, electronically communicating work group of members, who think and act in concert with the diversity of the global environment and intermediary needs–expectations) to enhance global product launch success. Lastly, it is argued that the hypercompetitive global marketplace cannot be managed ex post due to the level of cognitive complexity but must be managed ex ante by developing strategies capable of maintaining flexibility. To accomplish the task of competing in a hypercompetitive landscape, management must understand and incorporate a timescape of events that integrates the various perspectives of those involved in the global product development and launch decision-making processes. Without a well-articulated perspective of social time, managers will limit their ability to effectively coordinate global product development and launch across markets, thus hindering the firm's ability to maximize returns.

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