The purpose of this paper is to explore the drivers of change in product evolution and to examine the relationship between company performance and active management of the driving forces behind product changes.
An exploratory and qualitative research approach was adopted to explore the drivers of change and the definition of active management of forces. In the second stage, an analytical and quantitative research approach was adopted to examine the relationship between company performance and active management measures. A questionnaire survey was used in both stages to collect data.
Contrary to the traditional product evolutionary cycle, influential bodies (e.g. NGOs and media) are found to be another force that drives product evolution, in addition to managerial creativity, market factors and government mediation. Except for government mediation, the active management of all these forces is found to be associated with company performance.
The research was conducted in the real estate industry of Hong Kong. The particular nature of the industry would have a bearing on the outcome of the research. Extending the research to other industries is highly recommended.
The research leads to a number of management practices that define the active management of product change driving forces. The implementation of these practices may have a positive impact on improving company performance, especially in brand recognition.
This is the first empirical test of a new product evolutionary cycle that incorporates influential bodies as one of the driving forces. The approach to correlate company performance with active management of forces is also a pioneer one that gives useful insight on why some firms can maintain leadership in the market in terms of brand recognition.
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