Monthly Archives: September 2011

RESEARCH UPDATE: Success Factors in Marketing Appalachian Forest Products to Central America

By Scott Lyon,  swlyon@vt.edu

A conceptual model was developed based on preliminary studies and applied to the survey of perceptions of wood products retailers and manufacturers from Central America regarding supplier attributes, product attributes, retailer/manufacturer promotion strategy, supplier promotion strategy, potential importing barriers, and company performance. Cronbach’s alpha and factor analysis were used to check the reliability and validity of the data. The results of factor analysis suggested meaningful groupings within many of the constructs, including factors such as product attributes, purchasing attributes, and supplier services.  Two hypothetical models were developed and the relationships were tested for significance using ANOVA and multiple regression analyses. Barriers were found to positively affect company performance and supplier attributes.  These constructs may be important to consider when Appalachian wood products companies are interested in exporting to Central American countries.  Appalachian wood products companies need to invest resources and work to overcome barriers in order to be successful exporters to Central America.

Figure 1. Conceptual research model developed from the literature

Other international marketing studies were consulted to determine what attributes to consider in the survey and the conceptual model (Cossio 2007; Parhizkar 2008).  The survey focused on supplier attributes, product attributes, retailer/manufacturer promotion strategy, supplier promotion strategy, potential importing barriers, and company performance.

The first hypothesized model suggested that supplier attributes would be predicted by supplier promotion and barriers (Figure 1). Although supplier promotion did not appear to be driving supplier attributes (Hypothesis 6), barriers (i.e., language barrier, quality of Appalachian wood products, transportation and logistics) was found to be a significant predictor (Hypothesis 5).

These findings of supplier promotions contradict other studies that find promotion such as personal selling to be an important supplier’s attributes (Szymanski 1988).  Barriers were found to be a significant predictor of supplier attributes (Hypothesis 5).  While literature suggests a negative relationship of barriers to supplier attributes, this model suggests that the relationship with barriers is positive.  It is possible that suppliers may have to work harder to overcome the barriers, which, in turn, provides a positive impact on the supplier attributes.  Some studies have found that companies entering a new export market need to overcome barriers (i.e. specific product design and promotion strategy). These companies have an advantage over their competition and their company performance improves by the increase of sales (Douglas and Wind 1987; Jain 1989; Cavusgil et al.1993; Cavusgil and Zhou 1994).  For instance, if Appalachian wood products companies produce lumber in the dimensions required by Central American customers, then they may have competitive advantage over companies that do not produce to the desired product attributes.

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RESEARCH BRIEF: Innovation Styles

by Johanna Madrigal, PhD Candidate at Virginia Tech, jmadriga@vt.edu

Innovation is a key success factor in companies with complex and volatile environments, and many researchers have been interested in demonstrate how the organization process and leadership conduct companies to be successful at innovating (Chandler, Keller, and Lyon, 2000). There is also an increasing attention to understand if individual skills are affecting the innovation process inside the companies which has led to the definition of what is known as innovation styles (Ko, 2008).

An innovation style is defined as how an individual promotes innovation, and are categorized in 4 styles, and two dimensions. The first dimension responds to what stimulates and inspires innovation, which could be facts (details and analysis) or intuition (insights and images). The second dimension responds to the approaching style of the innovation process, which can be focused (well planned and outcome oriented) or broad (perceptive and learning oriented) (Innovation Styles, 2007).Figure 1 shows how innovation styles are related to each dimension.

Figure 1. The innovation styles model (Adapted from Miller, 2007)

 

Each innovation style stimulates innovative thinking in a unique manner. The innovation styles are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Innovation styles (Adapted from Miller, 2007)

Benefits

By raising awareness of the innovation styles of individual, innovation environment can become more open and flexible; also, organizations will be able to select a mix of innovative people based on each solution as required. This focus on selecting the right member of the working team can reduce the amount of time to reach a solution, and increase the productivity of the innovation based teams.

References

  • Chandler, Gaylen N., Keller, Chalon and Lyon, Douglas W.( 2000), “Unravelling the Determinants and Consequences of an Innovation-Supportive Organizational Culture”,  Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol 25 No.1, pp 59-76
  • Innovation Styles (2007), “Innovation Styles”, available at  http://innovationstyles.com/isinc/styles/overview.aspx (accessed on Aug 31st, 2011).
  • Ko, Stephen (2008), “Do thinking styles of entrepreneur matter in innovation?” Journal of Global Business and Technology, Vol 4 No2, pp. 24-33.
  • Miller, Debra (2007), “Overview of the four innovation styles”, available at