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Feature fit: The role of congruence and complementarity when adding versus deleting features from products

Valentin Gattol (Department of Product Innovation Management, Delft University of Technology , Delft, The Netherlands and Innovation Systems Department, Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna, Austria)
Maria Sääksjärvi (Department of Product Innovation Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Tripat Gill (Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University , Waterloo, Canada)
Jan Schoormans (Department of Product Innovation Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 10 October 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

Previous research in the context of feature fit has examined the effects of congruence (i.e. more specifically, the extent to which a new feature and the product are similar in the hedonic-utilitarian benefits they provide to consumers). The purpose of this paper is to examine a second dimension of feature fit: complementarity (i.e. the extent to which a new feature is related and contributing to the main functionality of the product).

Design/methodology/approach

The role of feature fit is examined in two experimental studies (n=593) in the context of feature additions, and also for feature deletions.

Findings

The results showed that complementarity adds value to a product as an additional dimension of feature fit beyond congruence, complementarity matters more for a hedonic than for a utilitarian product, and complementarity can compensate for lack of congruence.

Originality/value

For a product developer, adding new features to a product offers an array of choices in terms of what feature(s) to include. Although having a large pool of potential features to choose from is attractive it can also prove problematic, as products may become overly complex and features do not fit well together. The results demonstrate the importance of both congruence and complementarity as predictors of feature fit when features are added to or deleted from products.

Keywords

Citation

Gattol, V., Sääksjärvi, M., Gill, T. and Schoormans, J. (2016), "Feature fit: The role of congruence and complementarity when adding versus deleting features from products", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 589-607. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-08-2015-0069

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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