Knowledge sharing, commitment and opportunism in new product development

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1074
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Purpose - In today's market, firms are riding on the wave of globalisation to enhance competitiveness through corporate collaboration in new product development (NPD). In joint NPD, huge amounts of information and knowledge are interchanged among business partners. However, industrial experience and past research have indicated that knowledge sharing among firms invite opportunism, that is, knowledge being leaked or misused by others. To determine the means to rectify the problems of opportunism in joint NPD, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of commitment and knowledge sharing on opportunism.

Design/methodology/approach - 
An online questionnaire survey was conducted to verify the research model with 312 valid responses from manufacturing firms. The survey data were analysed by structural equation modelling, and the findings were verified by follow-up interviews.

Findings - Contradictory to most studies, this study finds that knowledge sharing among committed business partners suppresses, rather than invites, opportunism.

Research limitations/implications - This finding is new in the literature with strong managerial implication. Firms that hesitate to share their knowledge with others because of the fear of opportunism should commit more seriously to their business partners so that they could share knowledge for better NPD.

Originality/value -
This study has reversed the sceptical belief of knowledge sharing leading to opportunism. This new belief will encourage corporate collaboration in joint NPD. However, for a comprehensive view on opportunism in inter-firm NPD, other governance mechanisms, that is, contract and trust, should also be studied in future research.

Research Area(s)

  • Commitment, Knowledge sharing, New product development, Opportunism