When Social Media Can Be Bad for You: Community Feedback Stifles Consumer Creativity and Reduces Satisfaction with Self-Designed Products

Information Systems Research, January 2013

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-15

Posted: 23 Feb 2013

See all articles by Christian Hildebrand

Christian Hildebrand

University of St. Gallen

Gerald Haeubl

Independent

Andreas Herrmann

University of St. Gallen - MCM Institute

Jan Landwehr

University of St. Gallen

Date Written: January 22, 2013

Abstract

Enabling consumers to self-design unique products that match their idiosyncratic preferences is the key value driver of modern mass customization systems. These systems are increasingly becoming 'social', allowing for consumer-to-consumer interactions such as commenting on each other's self-designed products. The present research examines how receiving others' feedback on initial product configurations affects consumers' ultimate product designs and their satisfaction with these self-designed products. Evidence from a field study in a European car manufacturer's brand community and from two follow-up experiments reveals that receiving feedback from other community members on initial self-designs leads to less unique final self-designs, lower satisfaction with self-designed products, lower product usage frequency, and lower monetary product valuations. We provide evidence that the negative influence of feedback on consumers' satisfaction with self-designed products is mediated by an increase in decision uncertainty and perceived process complexity. The implications of socially enriched mass customization systems for both consumer welfare and seller profitability are discussed.

Keywords: mass customization systems, user self-design, product configurations, consumer decision making, social influence, field study, experiment

Suggested Citation

Hildebrand, Christian and Haeubl, Gerald and Herrmann, Andreas and Landwehr, Jan, When Social Media Can Be Bad for You: Community Feedback Stifles Consumer Creativity and Reduces Satisfaction with Self-Designed Products (January 22, 2013). Information Systems Research, January 2013, University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2222723

Christian Hildebrand

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Bodanstrasse 6
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

Andreas Herrmann

University of St. Gallen - MCM Institute ( email )

Blumenbergplatz 9
CH-9000 St. Gallen
Switzerland
+41-71-224-3026 (Phone)

Jan Landwehr

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Bodanstrasse 6
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

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