Wu, Chia-huei, de Jong, Jeroen P.J., Christina Raasch and Sabrine Poldervaart (2020): Work process-related lead userness as an antecedent of innovative behavior and user innovation in organizations, Research Policy, 49 (6).
Abstract: Recent studies have identified that employees can be lead users of their employing firm's products, and valuable sources of product innovation, residing within organizational boundaries. We extend this line of thought by recognizing that employees can be lead users with regard to internal work processes. We define work process-related lead userness (WPLU) as the extent to which employees experience unsatisfied process-related needs ahead of others, and expect high benefits from solutions to these needs. We hypothesize a positive association with user innovation in the workplace, evidenced by the development of tools, equipment, materials and methods. We test a moderated mediation model delineating how and when WPLU is related to user innovation within organizational boundaries. Drawing on survey data from 104 employees and 13 supervisors in a forensic services organization, we find that WPLU contributes to user innovation via engagement in innovative work behavior, especially when employees have higher self-efficacy (perceived capability to overcome obstacles) and lower job autonomy (situational constraints on the job).
Schweisfurth, Tim G. and Christina Raasch (2018): Absorptive capacity for need knowledge: Antecedents and effects for employee innovativeness, Research Policy, 47 (4): 687-699.
Abstract: Abstract Innovation occurs when knowledge about unmet customer needs intersects with knowledge about technological solutions. Both knowledge types are often located outside the firm and need to be absorbed in order for innovation to occur. While there has been extensive research into absorptive capacity for solution knowledge, a necessary complement − absorptive capacity for new customer needs − has been neglected. In an individual-level study of 864 employees from a home appliance firm, we show that need absorptive capacity is theoretically and empirically distinct from solution absorptive capacity, and that both are positively associated with employee innovativeness. Interestingly, we find asymmetric extra-domain effects: prior solution knowledge is positively related to need absorptive capacity (cross-pollination effect), while prior need knowledge is negatively related to solution absorptive capacity (attenuation effect). We contrast the cognitive underpinnings of the two absorptive capacity types, contributing to emerging scholarly thinking on the domain-specificity and micro foundations of absorptive capacity.
Gambardella, Alfonso, Christina Raasch and Eric von Hippel (2017): The User Innovation Paradigm: Impacts on Markets and Welfare, Management Science, 63 (5): 1450-1468.
Abstract: Innovation has traditionally been seen as the province of producers. However, theoretical and empirical research now shows that individual users—consumers—are also a major and increasingly important source of new product and service designs. In this paper, we build a microeconomic model of a market that incorporates demand-side innovation and competition. We explain the conditions under which firms find it beneficial to invest in supporting and harvesting users’ innovations, and we show that social welfare rises when firms utilize this source of innovation. Our modeling also indicates reasons for policy interventions with respect to a mixed user and producer innovation economy. From the social welfare perspective, as the share of innovating users in a market increases, profit-maximizing firms tend to switch “too late” from a focus on internal research and development to a strategy of also supporting and harvesting user innovations. Underlying this inefficiency are externalities that the producer cannot capture. Overall, our results explain when and how the proliferation of innovating users leads to a superior division of innovative labor involving complementary investments by users and producers, both benefitting producers and increasing social welfare.
de Jong, Jeroen P.J., Eric von Hippel, Fred Gault, Jari Kuusisto and Christina Raasch (2015): Market failure in the diffusion of consumer-developed innovations: Patterns in Finland, Research Policy, 44 (10): 1856-1865.
Abstract: Abstract Empirical studies have shown that millions of individual users develop new products and services to serve their own needs. The economic impact of this phenomenon increases if and as adopters in addition to the initial innovators also gain benefits from those user-developed innovations. It has been argued that the diffusion of user-developed innovations is negatively affected by a new type of market failure: value that others may gain from a user-developed product can often be an externality to consumer-developers. As a result, consumer innovators may not invest in supporting diffusion to the extent that would be socially optimal. In this paper, we utilize a broad sample of consumers in Finland to explore the extent to which innovations developed by individual users are deemed of potential value to others, and the extent to which they diffuse as a function of perceived general value. Our empirical analysis supports the hypothesis that a market failure is affecting the diffusion of user innovations developed by consumers for their own use. Implications and possible remedies are discussed.
Schweisfurth, Tim G. and Christina Raasch (2015): Embedded lead users - The benefits of employing users for corporate innovation, Research Policy, 44 (1): 168-180.
Abstract: Abstract While most of the literature views users and producers as organizationally distinct, this paper studies users within producer firms. We define “embedded lead users” (ELUs) as employees who are lead users of their employing firm’s products or services. We argue that 5ELUs6 benefit from dual embeddedness in the user and producer domains; it shapes their cognitive structure and enables them to better absorb sticky need knowledge from the user domain. We hypothesize that 5ELUs6 are more active than regular employees in acquiring, disseminating, and utilizing market need information for corporate innovation. Using survey data from the mountaineering equipment industry (n = 149), we test and support our hypotheses. Additional robustness checks reveal that the observed effects are indeed due to lead userness rather than to affective product involvement or job satisfaction. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications, as well as directions for future research on this empirically important but hitherto under-researched phenomenon.