On the Tension between Product Performance and Confidentiality Protection

Abstract: The general consensus of the academic literature on product development is that it is best to be centrally located in the network of firms in the industry. This allows faster access to more and better information and knowledge. The degree to which a firm is centrally located in a network (i.e., its network centrality) has been shown to relate to various positives outcomes, including increased product development speed and better products. The product development literature also argues that the degree to which a focal firm’s partners are NOT directly tied to each other can enhance the novelty of products developed by the network. The outsourcing and offshoring of activities has led to a world in which product development work has become increasingly distributed. Further, the increasing digitization of work has led to a world in which the digital assets exchanged between product development partners are increasingly important. The main thrust of our research was to understand whether, in the context of the development of a digital product, the established benefits of network centrality may not have a downside. Specifically, does network centrality relate to an increased risk of a confidentiality breach?

Authors: Yingchao Lan, John Gray, and Brett Massimino (Aravind Chandrasekeran added to paper after grant award)

Date: 2018

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