Impacts of Hedonic and Utilitarian User Motives on the Innovativeness of User-Developed Solutions
Ruth Maria Stock
Darmstadt University of Technology
Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics
Eric A. von Hippel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management
May 3, 2013
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: user innovation; consumer innovator motives; self-determination theory; goal-setting theory; non-linear relationships; novelty and utility of the solution
Date posted: May 7, 2013 ; Last revised: December 24, 2014