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Impacts of Hedonic and Utilitarian User Motives on the Innovativeness of User-Developed Solutions

36 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013 Last revised: 24 Dec 2014

Ruth Maria Stock

Darmstadt University of Technology

Pedro Oliveira

Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics

Eric A. von Hippel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: May 3, 2013

Abstract

When individual consumers develop products for their own use, they in part expect to be rewarded by the use value of what they are creating (utilitarian user motives), and in part expect to be rewarded intrinsically by such things as the fun and learning experience derived from creating it (hedonic user motives). In this paper, we conduct first-of-type studies to understand the relationship between individual consumers’ motives to innovate and the novelty and utility of the solutions they develop. The theoretical framework integrates self-determination theory and goal setting theory.

The major findings of this study are that utilitarian user motives positively affect the utility of user-developed innovations. In addition, we find that a strong utility motive is associated with reduced solution novelty — perhaps because if individual users really need something to function well, it may be wise to go with tried and true solutions. In contrast, hedonic user motives drive solution novelty; the more an innovator is “in it for fun,” the more novel the solution developed. However, hedonic user motives also have an inverted U-shaped relationship with solution utility. When the dominant motive for developing an innovation is the joy of the creative process rather than use value, the utility of what is developed is negatively affected. The levels of utility and hedonic user motives driving innovators are variables that can be adjusted by the innovators themselves, and/or by third parties seeking to motivate individual innovators and affect the rate and direction of inventive activities.

Keywords: user innovation; consumer innovator motives; self-determination theory; goal-setting theory; non-linear relationships; novelty and utility of the solution

Suggested Citation

Stock, Ruth Maria and Oliveira, Pedro and von Hippel, Eric A., Impacts of Hedonic and Utilitarian User Motives on the Innovativeness of User-Developed Solutions (May 3, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2260436 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2260436

Ruth Maria Stock (Contact Author)

Darmstadt University of Technology ( email )

Hochschulstr. 1
Darmstadt, Hesse D-64289
Germany

Pedro Oliveira

Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

Eric Von Hippel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E62-455
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-7155 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

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