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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4995||2011||24 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Long Range Planning, Volume 44, Issues 5–6, October–December 2011, Pages 397–420
This study explores how the motivation and knowledge of individuals participating in innovation projects broadcast on the Internet affect their contribution performance. By analyzing a data set that combines information from the content analysis of postings and matched survey data from contributors, we find that extrinsic and intrinsic motivations affect the number of different types of contributions to solution threads. While extrinsic desire for monetary rewards tends to be positively related to the making of non-substantial contributions, intrinsic enjoyment tends to breed more substantial postings, and knowledge diversity facilitates all types of contributions to open innovation projects. This study also finds support for interaction effects between motivation and knowledge diversity. We identify the most valuable contributors as those who combine high levels of intrinsic enjoyment in contributing with a cognitive base fed from diverse knowledge domains. Our research complements emerging findings on the individual performance of external problem solvers in crowdsourcing and broadcast search. The findings will be useful for platform managers striving to attract potentially valuable participants to ensure high levels of substantial contributions to innovation challenges.
As the Internet offers global accessibility and facilitates communication and interaction between contributors for a comparatively low cost, it has become one of the major drivers for new forms of inbound openness (e.g. Afuah, 2003 and Verona et al., 2006). Firms are increasingly engaging in ‘crowdsourcing’, i.e. outsourcing the function of idea generation to large groups of external contributors who are often unknown or undefined (Howe, 2008, Kozinets et al., 2008 and Surowiecki, 2005). One viable approach for firms using the crowd as a source of innovation is to disclose the innovation-related problems they face via open innovation platforms on the Internet (Jeppesen and Lakhani, 2010 and Sawhney et al., 2003). In these virtual environments, external experts or users are invited to contribute to solving predefined innovation challenges. The purpose of this study is to advance the understanding of the individual level factors that explain the performance of volunteers who submit new product or service ideas to open projects on Internet-based platforms. More specifically, we concentrate on the roles of motivation and knowledge as determinants of the quality of such individual contributions. In terms of motives, prior empirical work has provided descriptive findings on how contributors to open projects and user communities rate the importance of different motivational dimensions (Hars and Ou, 2002, Hertel et al., 2003 and Lakhani and Wolf, 2005). Nonetheless some motives, although substantial from the contributors’ perspective, may only be weakly associated with contribution performance (Roberts et al., 2006). This study therefore addresses the question of how extrinsic desire for monetary rewards and intrinsic enjoyment of contributing relate to the quality of contributions that individuals make to innovation challenges that are broadcast on the Internet. With respect to individual knowledge, it has often been proposed that the diverse knowledge held by external actors is a key success factor in crowdsourcing (Kozinets et al., 2008, Rosenkopf and Nerkar, 2001 and Stuart and Podolny, 1996), and it is surprising that the existing body of literature offers fairly limited empirical evidence on this notion. We build on the few studies that provide support for the critical role of (marginal) knowledge and investigate how contributors’ knowledge diversity relates to their performance in submitting proposals to open innovation projects (Jeppesen and Lakhani, 2010 and Jeppesen and Laursen, 2009). We extend existing empirical evidence about the relationship between individual factors and the innovation-related performance of firm-external problem solvers in four ways. First, while most studies tend to investigate the characteristics of users working in communities on self-selected problems, this research is based on a field study of individuals who react to predefined problem statements broadcast by firms to an unknown and unrestricted audience. The choice of this unique empirical setting (no user-initiated community, mix of users and non-users, predefined innovation challenges) fits with product and service firms’ growing interest in virtual knowledge brokering and broadcast search (Ebner et al., 2009 and Pisano and Verganti, 2008). Second, the few studies that seek to explain the performance of voluntary contributors to virtual innovation development projects have concentrated on investigating either motives or knowledge-related variables, while this study addresses and answers the question as to how these factors are interrelated as antecedents to contribution performance. Third, by conducting this study in a competition-like setting, where successful contributors can expect to receive predefined monetary prizes, this research contributes findings to the well-established ‘crowding-out’ theory of the interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A large number of experimental studies in organizational psychology have shown that, under certain conditions, extrinsic incentives undermine intrinsic motivation (Osterloh and Frey, 2000), and this field study tests whether this trade-off also pertains in the virtual environment of open innovation platforms. Fourth, most studies investigating the participation levels and the performance of community participants rely on self-reported measures (e.g. Füller, 2006, Hertel et al., 2003 and Luthiger and Jungwirth, 2007). To avoid the risk of a common method bias, this research uses different sources of information to measure the model’s exogenous and endogenous variables. Specifically, we conducted a survey to obtain data on respondents’ motivation and knowledge diversity, but collected our data on participants’ contributions to innovation projects via server log file analysis and the content analysis of more than 1,400 of their postings. By coding the contributions according to their novelty for the solution development process and their relevance to the end solution, this study provides rich and differentiated findings on individual contribution performance. Our empirical setting is the online commercial innovation platform Atizo, which was created by a Swiss start-up company, and which operates - in the same way as InnoCentive - as a knowledge broker between firms aiming to broadcast innovation challenges and a group of external contributors posting solution elements to those challenges (Jeppesen and Lakhani, 2010 and Verona et al., 2006). This article starts with a discussion of the study’s conceptual background, after which we derive a research model to examine variables that explain the number and quality of participants’ contributions to predefined innovation challenges. We then test the research model through survey and server data obtained from Atizo, and finally we discuss our empirical findings and describe their practical implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study builds on motivational and cognitive theories to examine intrapersonal factors explaining the performance of contributors to open innovation platforms. Drawing on a unique set of data that combines two complementary data sources (survey data of contributors and content analysis of their postings), we investigated what kind of motivational and knowledge attributes might explain participants’ contribution behavior. In terms of intrinsic motivation, several studies on the motives of contributors to Open Source Software development projects have shown that enjoyment and pervasive fun are the strongest motives for joining and contributing to a community (Füller, 2006, Ghosh, 2005, Hertel et al., 2003 and Lakhani and Wolf, 2005). Here we find that intrinsic enjoyment also explains the activity level of contributors and the quality level of their contributions to open innovation challenges. Our findings echo those of Sauermann and Cohen (2010) that intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivations have strong effects in explaining the effort and performance of scientists, and confirm the notion that individuals whose motivation is linked to the task itself engage in solving tough problems to create a positive skill-exercising experience (Lakhani and Wolf, 2005). Trying to contribute to the creative discovery of solutions seems to be a source of positive feelings of competence, autonomy and self-expression (Shah and Kruglanski, 2000). In sum, we find that intrinsically motivated participants are particularly valuable as contributors to innovation platforms, as they post higher numbers of substantial contributions. The desire for monetary rewards, however, appears to prompt participants to engage in frequent posting of less substantial suggestions and comments. In the investigated innovation projects, many solutions were developed in teams and the cash prizes were to be distributed among the contributors of the winning solution proposals. Thus, this behavior can be interpreted as free-riding on other users’ contributions to a given solution thread. By posting many - albeit non-substantial - contributions, participants could signal high involvement in the solution process while keeping their (opportunity) costs at low levels. In contrast to this study, Lakhani et al. (2006) identified a significant effect of extrinsic monetary motivation on the performance of contributors on the InnoCentive platform. However, the specific characteristics of the Atizo innovation platform may explain why our finding is inconsistent with the results derived from research on InnoCentive. While Atizo encouraged participants to develop their concepts jointly, problem solvers working on challenges posted on InnoCentive submitted their proposal without interacting with other participants, making free-riding simply not possible. Another explanation for the different role of extrinsic motivation in these two studies is the fact that the average levels of monetary rewards at InnoCentive (US$30,000) were ten times higher than at Atizo. It is therefore possible that extrinsically motivated Atizo participants simply did not invest enough in the process because the monetary rewards were too low to stimulate greater efforts. In a similar vein, users who are mainly extrinsically motivated might not even consider joining the Atizo platform. Future research should therefore examine more closely whether the relationship between extrinsic motivation and substantial contributions becomes stronger when monetary rewards are increased. The prevalence of intrinsic over extrinsic motivational factors may also be explained by the type of innovation challenges posted on Atizo. Most challenges investigated in this study did not require the submission of thorough descriptions of solutions to a specific scientific or technical problem, but rather invited contributors to provide ideas for new product and services or to suggest how to address the firm’s basic business or market challenges. This allows ‘hobbyists’ without profound scientific or engineering knowledge to contribute to the ideation process. For this type of challenge, task-related enjoyment seems to constitute a sufficient compensation for creative effort (Füller, 2006 and Shah, 2006). Apparently, innovation intermediaries have already learned this lesson: in an in-depth analysis of ten innovation platforms, Hallerstede et al. (2010) found those that relied predominantly on hobbyists to participate in creative ideation tasks emphasized intrinsic incentives rather than monetary compensation. Another reason for the dominance of intrinsic incentives may be rooted in Atizo’s practice of recruiting participants to its platform by inviting members of innovation communities dedicated to fields corresponding to the topics of the challenges. For instance, to gain participants for the Mammut challenge, Atizo actively approached outdoor sports communities. As such communities are typically formed around shared interests, their members are presumably intrinsically motivated when developing ideas for innovations. Our second finding suggests that the degree of participants’ knowledge diversity is strongly associated with the number of their contributions to open projects. Since this variable turned out to be the strongest antecedent of contribution behavior, the result suggests that research on crowdsourcing needs to concentrate on participants’ cognitive attributes. Our finding is consistent with the notion that having knowledge in diverse fields allows contributors to blend disparate solution elements in novel ways (Hargadon, 2003 and Majchrzak et al., 2004). Interestingly, and contrary to our predictions, knowledge diversity not only affects the probability of providing substantial input but also impacts on the number of non-substantial contributions – postings which give general feedback on earlier contributions, indicate implementation problems associated with solutions suggested by other participants, or moderate the discussion in a solution thread. Apparently, a broad stock of knowledge also helps participants understand the solutions provided by others, and so enables individuals to combine previous suggestions in a meaningful way. Finally, our findings add evidence supporting the existence of interaction effects both between motivational factors and between motivation and knowledge diversity. With regard to the interaction of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, the analysis provides only weak support for the proposition that the expectation of monetary compensation counteracts the positive impact of intrinsic motivation on contribution performance. But nor did we find indications of any strong synergetic effect of both motivational factors on contributions. The weak interaction effects we found on contribution behavior could be explained by a dominance of intrinsic over extrinsic motivation, in the sense that a high degree of intrinsic motivation may be relatively impervious to being either undermined or even supported by extrinsic motivations. We did find a positive combined effect of intrinsic motivation and knowledge diversity on the number of an individual’s contributions of all types, a result that fits neatly into the basic motivational models proposing that effort is a function of motivation and ability (Sawhney et al., 2003). Contrary to our expectations, we also found equally strong interaction effects between intrinsic motivation and knowledge diversity on substantial and non-substantial contributions. One possible explanation is closely associated with the result of the main effect of knowledge diversity on contributions. As already noted, having knowledge in many fields is also positively associated with the number of postings that are not substantial for end solutions. Since the main effect of knowledge diversity on non-substantial contributions turned out to be significant, it is reasonable to expect that the interaction effect with intrinsic motivation will be, too. Taken together, our findings highlight the need to investigate the effect of knowledge on contribution performance in innovation communities and on platforms, suggesting future studies should advance the measurement of different facets of intra-personal knowledge. Research could go beyond knowledge diversity and explore the impact, for instance, of different types of knowledge (e.g. practical vs. theoretical knowledge, user knowledge vs. expert knowledge). Another attractive research avenue would be to advance methods of capturing individuals’ knowledge bases, such as cognitive mapping procedures (Bougon, 1992). Research on innovation platforms and communities could also investigate how knowledge combination takes place in organizational teams and project groups. Team-oriented studies could build on the existing literature emphasizing the role of diversity in such organizational groups, and could help to develop a better understanding of how the knowledge of different participants converges, and how inter-personal knowledge combinations contribute to creative leaps (Bunderson and Sutcliffe, 2002 and Kilduff et al., 2000).