Internal and External Integration for Product Development: The Contingency Effects of Uncertainty, Equivocality, and Platform Strategy Academic Article uri icon


  • Effective product development requires firms to unify internal and external participants. As companies attempt to create this integrated environment, two important questions emerge. Does a high level of internal integration lead to a higher level of external integration? In the context of product development, this study considers whether internal integration in the form of concurrent engineering practices affects the level of external integration as manifested by customer integration, supplier product integration, and supplier process integration. External integration, in turn, may influence competitive capabilities, namely product innovation performance and quality performance. Second, using contingency theory, do certain contextual variables moderate the linkages between integration strategy (external and internal) and performance? Specifically, this study considers whether uncertainty, equivocality, and platform development strategy change the relationships among internal integration, external integration, and competitive capabilities. Data collected from 244 manufacturing firms across several industries were used to test these research questions. The results indicate that both internal and external integration positively influence product innovation and quality and ultimately, profitability. With respect to contingency effects, the results indicate that equivocality moderates the relationships between integration and performance.

author list (cited authors)

  • Koufteros, X., Vonderembse, M., & Jayaram, J.

citation count

  • 488

publication date

  • January 2005