Maximising Benefits from Participating in User Communities
Groups of customers in the form of user communities can exercise a powerful influence on the market, because of the speed with which they can disseminate information (Prahalad and Ramaswamy 2000). For instance, closely-knit, networked groups of customers can play a vital role for the adoption and diffusion of innovations (Chakravorti 2004). Furthermore, user communities can also be seen as an additional source of external ideas for firms pursuing an open innovation model (Chesbrough 2003). In particular, these communities have the potential to assist firms in organising and prioritising the pool of user information regarding their needs, feedback on existing products as well as ideas for new products. The access to and integration of such community-generated information have been demonstrated by various studies to contribute significantly to product development (Jeppesen and Molin 2003; Jeppesen and Frederiksen 2006; Prügl and Schreier 2006). But before firms can leverage user communities for innovation management, it is important to firstly understand why these user communities exist, what their goals are and how they function. To address these issues, this paper examines user groups from a proprietary software producer Computer Associates (CA), with the objective of identifying determinants of successful user communities.
KeywordsOrdinary Little Square User Group Open Source Software Extrinsic Motivation User Community
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