The screening of new product concepts: information use and the effects of experience and expertise
Hunt, Michelle R.
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The effects of experience and expertise on managers' search for information while screening new product concepts were investigated using a computer interactive screening simulation. Relationships between respondents' attributions about product success and failure, their judgments of the diagnosticity (predictive usefulness) of different types of information, and information search were also investigated. Sixty-two respondents from the microcomputer software industry and the pharmaceutical industry were involved in the study. They searched for information about three new product concepts, then evaluated the three concepts. The three concepts were designed to vary the decision context--one concept had predominantly favorable attributes, one had predominantly unfavorable attributes, and one was mixed. The study showed that experience and expertise were related but distinct constructs which could have differing effects on information search and on concept evaluation. Under conditions of favorable and mixed attributes, increased expertise and experience led to less information search. Expertise was related to spending less time in search, while experience was related to spending more time searching for information. Both constructs were related to managers' perceptions of information diagnosticity. Both constructs were also related to the cutoffs used when screening new product concepts, though the relationships depended on the criteria for screening as well as the respondent's industry. Expertise was related to the evaluation of the new product concepts, while experience was not.
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