Innovating With the Customer: Co-Creation Motives in Online Communities

Zeynep Didem Nohutlu, Basil G. Englis, Aard J. Groen, and Efthymios Constantinides
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 27, Number 4, 2023, pp. 523-557.


This study identifies and classifies the motivations and benefits consumers gain from participating in co-creation activities in online communities by conducting a systematic literature review and developing a taxonomy. The taxonomy provides an overview of customer motivations to co-create in online communities by categorizing the motivations according to their nature (entirely extrinsic, internalized extrinsic, and intrinsic), and their connection to the individual, innovative community, and firm. Based on the uses and gratifications (U&G) framework of benefits (cognitive/learning, hedonic, personal integrative, and social integrative benefits), the taxonomy also identifies the relationships between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations within each benefit category, thus gaining a better understanding of the psychological needs behind the co-creators’ motivations. For instance, an example of a community-related intrinsic motivation that provides a social integrative benefit is altruism. Community members who are motivated by altruism show care, attention, and help toward the co-creation project and the community. Companies can create encouragement in supporting others’ contributions that will help to stimulate new submissions. Another case is that an example of an internalized self-extrinsic motivation which is related to instrumental benefit is user need. Community members who are motivated by the satisfaction that arises from improving current product- and service-related issues propose solutions and new ideas to those issues as they seek a practical benefit for their personal needs. Companies can invite these community members for a brainstorm with their representatives such as product owners or program managers to provide inspiration for improvements.