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Improving absorptive capacity in product development with online collaboration tools

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the PICMET '13 Conference, "Technology Management in the IT-Driven Services", July 28 - August 1, 2013, San Jose, California, USA
PublisherPortland International Center on Management of Engineering and Technology
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781890843274
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventPortland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …

Publication series

NamePortland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology
ISSN (Print)2159-5100


ConferencePortland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology
Period1/01/00 → …


In the present paper, we discuss how the adoption of online collaboration tools (OCT) has influenced new product development (NPD). Our aim is specifically to consider how an organization's absorptive capacity is influenced by its adoption of social media tools. We conducted a survey in a case company investigating the state of absorptive capacity before and after the large-scale adoption of social media tools. We conclude that the amount of accessible knowledge and ideas increases as an organization's ability to point out various expertise increases. OCT can be used to access knowledge that originates from external as well as internal sources, but it seems that online tools increase the visibility and accessibility of internal expertise and therefore the use of internal knowledge. Additionally, we observe that the assimilation of externally sourced knowledge improves internally as the means of distribution improve, and it seems that an increased complexity of tasks at the individual employee level does not present additional transaction costs for this improvement. Subsequently, we derive that organizational absorptive capacity is increased and linked to improved new product development performance. We further elaborate on the theoretical and managerial implications of our findings. © 2013 PICMET.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland