Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 35 Number 3 2018 pp. 900-933

Differential Innovativeness Outcomes of User and Employee Participation in an Online User Innovation Community

Yan, Jie (Kevin), Leidner, Dorothy E, and Benbya, Hind


Firm-hosted online user innovation communities (OUICs) have emerged as a vital source of knowledge and expertise for innovation and new product development. Prior research on OUICs has primarily focused on participation of external product users and benefits obtained from their contributions. However, the role of internal employees of the host firm, albeit essential for the community’s long-term success, has not yet received much attention. This study attempts to bridge this gap by investigating the innovation outcomes of employees participating in OUICs. By analyzing a longitudinal data set collected from’s IdeaExchange community, we find that accessing product user ideas with diverse and well-codified content drives idea promotion and generation of participating employees. Moreover, ideas contributed and promoted by employees are more likely to be implemented than those contributed and only promoted by product users. We discuss important implications of our study for the online innovation community literature and for the development of overall employee engagement in OUICs.

Key words and phrases: Online user innovation communities, employee innovativeness, crowdsourcing, co-creation, online communities, online ideation