Thesis defense of Ramon Eliëns, June 24, 2019

On Monday, June 24, 2019, Ramon Eliëns will defend his PhD thesis “Commitment and Decision Making in Product Innovation”. This thesis has been supervised by prof.dr. F. Langerak, dr. S.E.C. Gelper and dr. K. Eling. The ceremony will take place in room 0.710 of the Atlas building, Eindhoven University of Technology at 16:00 hrs.


The research in this thesis focuses on commitment and decision making in new product innovation. I study how the uncertain nature of new product development (NPD) impacts both managerial decision making as well as consumer decision making. By investigating both perspectives, my dissertation provides an integral view of decision-making during NPD. The dissertation consists of three experimental design studies (one from an innovation manager perspective, and two from a consumer perspective) which are briefly described below.

In this first study the frequent occurrence of the unwillingness of a gatekeeper to let go of a fruitless NPD project is investigated. I look at how thinking style – whether they think rationally or whether they follow their intuition – can prevent such escalation of commitment. While it is interesting to understand more on escalation behavior of innovation managers, it is equally beneficial to understand consumer escalation behavior to newly developing products. Are consumers more likely to stay committed to a new product that they have preordered? What happens to their commitment to the new product when development issues arise leading to launch delays? In study two I investigate how the act of preordering or crowdfunding affects a consumer’s commitment to the new product, and how this commitment is affected when the product launch is unexpectedly delayed due to development issues. In the final study I extend on the findings in study two and go beyond mere attitudinal commitment by investigating how the act of preordering and crowdfunding affects consumer risk aversion when making actual purchase decisions and make a comparison. Together these studies aim to fill specific gaps in our current understanding product innovation with the aim to improve performance of product innovation in practice, for both managers and consumers alike.