The integration of customers into the new product development (NPD) process has been identified by many studies as having a positive influence on new product performance (Urban & von Hippel, 1988; Verhees & Meulenberg, 2004). Hence, customer integration is a potential source to reduce the risk of market failure, which makes the concept an interesting option particularly for technology-based new ventures (TBNV) that usually do not have a large financial scope to compensate readily for product failure (de Jong & Marsili, 2006). However, customer integration might also involve considerable costs and still does not always come along with the desired outcomes (Ittner & Larcker, 1997). Findings have demonstrated the importance of closely observing the different facets of customer integration.

Our study empirically examines the effects of customer integration on new product performance in TBNV. More specifically, we aim to address different facets by (1) studying the impact of customer involvement on new product performance for different stages of the NPD process; (2) identifying characteristics of the involved customers that enhance new product success; and (3) exploring the moderating mechanism of environmental variables on the relations outlined in (1). As a basis for our analysis, we utilize the resource-based view of the firm (Barney, 1991; Penrose, 1959) and the dynamic capability approach (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Teece, Pisano & Shuen, 1997).