Understanding the crowd - how to construct the crowd and manage participants in customer co-creation

  • Die "Crowd" verstehen - Wie Teilnehmer an Co-Creation Initiativen rekrutiert und geführt werden

Bilgram, Volker; Piller, Frank Thomas (Thesis advisor); Füller, Johann Rupert (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2017)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2017


The dissertation investigates the participants in co-creation initiatives referred to as the ‘crowd’ of customers, who get involved in firm-led creative and social processes designed to co-create value. In a general introduction, the theoretical background is outlined considering co-creation, service-dominant logic and consumer empowerment literature. In four individual papers, the thesis provides a more granular perspective on the members of the crowd and investigate how the crowd can be constructed, managed, and empowered to accomplish favorable outcomes. Paper 1 shows that effects of an enjoyable co-creation experience vary on the basis of personal features of participating crowd members such as novelty seeking, web usage and dissatisfaction with current products. In addition, paper 2 sheds light on more negative personal characteristics, specifically the three dimensions of Machiavellianism - distrust of others, amorality and desire for status. Machiavellian characteristics affect participation behavior, the quality of submissions and the kind of contributions, however, in oppositional ways. Proof is provided that Machiavellianism also affects collaborative behavior of crowd members. Paper 3 outlines design principles for constructing and managing the crowd in order to ensure integrated and contextualized submissions. The paper further highlights two boundaries - team vs. individual submission mode and context-specific vs. global submissions - and the consequences of co-creation design on elicited submissions by the crowd. Paper 4 underscores the importance of participant empowerment on favorable outcomes in terms of submission quality and consumer-brand relationships. Empowerment is found to positively affect the quality of submissions and lead to a higher change in passion for the host brand relative to the level of passion before participation. The last chapter discusses the main findings and derives implications for theory and practice.


  • Chair of Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) [812710]