Purpose – This paper aims to consider decision speed’s role in the largely neglected decision area of product elimination. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on an inter‐disciplinary theoretical background (e.g. organisational, decision speed and product elimination theories), the authors develop and test a framework for decision speed’s effects on the market and financial outcomes of a stratified random sample of 175 consumer product eliminations. Findings – In contrast to decision speed research that hypothesised (and often failed to confirm) linearity, results show inverted ∪‐shaped decision speed‐to‐decision outcomes relationships, with curvatures moderated by product importance, environmental complexity and turbulence. Research limitations/implications – Findings are suggestive of several implications for the above theories (e.g. contribution to the dialogue about performance‐enhancing value of rational vs incremental decision‐making; evidence that excessive decision speed may become too much of a good thing). Certain design limitations (e.g. sampling consumer goods’ manufacturers only) point at avenues for future inquiry into the product elimination decision speed‐to‐outcomes link. Practical implications – Managerially, the findings suggest that product eliminations’ optimal market and financial outcomes depend on a mix of speed and search in decision‐making and that this mix requires adjustments to different levels of product importance, interdependencies with other decision areas of the firm and environmental turbulence. Originality/value – The paper makes a twofold contribution. It enriches decision speed research, by empirically addressing speed’s outcomes in relation to a decision area that is not necessarily strategic and represents the first explicit empirical investigation into outcomes of decision speed in product line pruning decision‐making.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 6, 2014
Keywords: Outcomes; Curvilinear effects; Decision‐making speed; Product elimination; Product line pruning
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