Purpose: In the context of crowdsourced new product development (NPD), the purpose of this paper is to investigate the optimal level of community involvement (CI) (e.g. zero, limited, and high) when creating products from the perspectives of both ordinary and advanced users. The authors also investigate the influence of design interest and need for social affiliation on users’ attitudes toward and willingness to use community co-design. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted two survey studies using ordinary (Study 1, n=199) and advanced users (Study 2, n=131) to evaluate the co-designed T-shirts reflecting varying levels of CI (i.e. zero, limited, and high). The stimuli for both studies were the same and included ten sets of T-shirt co-designs generated from a CI crowdsourced website, Threadless. Fishbein’s (1963) multi-attribute attitude model was used to compute subjects’ overall attitude score toward the T-shirt co-designs. Findings: Results showed both ordinary and advanced user groups rated the design quality of products reflecting limited CI lower than those of zero CI. Advanced users also rated the design quality and sales potential of products from limited CI lower than those of high CI. Further, advanced users indicated that products resulting from high CI reflected significantly better designs with regard to color, shape/line, size, general theme, and overall design as compared to products from limited CI. Design interest as well as need for social affiliation influenced users’ willingness to use community co-design and their attitudes toward a community co-design experience. Originality/value: The research made an important differentiation between zero, limited, and high CI during the co-design process as well as between ordinary users and advanced users contributed to the extant literature addressing crowdsourcing in NPD.
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