This study develops an original theoretical model of critical managerially controllable factors that have high potential for achieving significant improvements in the (intermediate and ultimate) outcome(s) of product innovation efforts. To this end, the author draws on the relevant empirical literature and integrates four complementary theoretical perspectives, namely; the critical success factors (CSFs) approach, the resource-based view (RBV), the input-process-output (IPO) model, and the system(s) approach. The model (hereafter CFEMOs) aims to explicate the simultaneous direct and indirect/mediated interrelationships among the product innovation’s critical firm-based enablers (new-product fit-to-firm’s skills and resources, internal cross-functional integration, and top-management support), process execution proficiency, and performance outcomes (operation-level performance, product-level performance, and firm-level performance). Additionally, it aims to predict the variations of the process execution proficiency and the performance outcomes. The CFEMOs model was empirically tested using an online survey that was completed by 386 U.S. restaurants owners/senior executives on their recently innovated new menu-items. By utilising a partial least squares structural equation modelling, the statistical analysis substantiated that, compared to the models of the extant relevant empirical studies, the CFEMOs model has a broader scope and a superior predictive power. It simultaneously explains 72% of the process execution proficiency, 67% of the new menu-item superiority (quality, speed-to-market, and cost-efficiency), 76% of new menu-item performance (customer satisfaction, sales, and profits), and 75% of the new menu-item contribution to the overall restaurant performance (sales, profits, and market share). Furthermore, this study established that those restaurateurs who concurrently succeed in enhancing their internal cross-functional integration, top-management support, and new-product fit-to-firm’s skills and resources, descendingly ranked, would achieve high process execution proficiency, which subsequently would grant them superior operation-level performance, product-level performance, and firm-level performance. This thesis concludes by providing several key original contributions and crucial implications to product innovation research and practice, as well as offering several promising avenues for future research.

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