Center for Advanced Management




Prof. Linus Dahlander (European School of Management and Technology)


  • Datum: 21.03.2012
    Zeit: 16:00 – 17:30
    Ort: Kaulbachstraße 45, Raum 202

If a thousand flowers bloom: How organizations cull the pool of user suggestions

When organizations reach out to their users for ideas, users take on a considerable role in the innovation process. Including users expands the number of participants and potential ideas from which an organization can select. But why do organizations pay attention to some user suggestions while they reject or ignore others? Relying on the theoretical framework of the behavioral theory of the firm and the attention based view, we examine how organizations cull the pool of user suggestions. Empirically, we analyze the selection processes at 24,067 organizations that collectively received 602,398 suggestions. We find that organizations filter the suggestions they receive by focusing on suggestions that start off a debate among the users. We also find that despite receiving contributions from a diverse pool of users, organizations quickly settle into a pattern of attending to only a few – a pattern that is further aggravated when crowding increases. To our surprise, organizations rarely use collective demand among the users for a suggestion as a filter mechanism; only as crowding increases do organizations rely on this as a filter mechanism. Our findings have implications for work on user-based innovation through emphasizing the elements of the search and decision-making processes that impact how organizations select from among a broad array of alternatives.