What Feedback Matters? The Role of Experience in Motivating Crowdsourcing Innovation

Kimmy Wa Chan, Stella Yiyan Li, Jian Ni, John Jian Jun Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Recent open innovation literature indicates increasing concern about the quality of crowdsourced ideas. Building on a framework of creativity capability, rooted in behavioral literature, and intrinsic (vs. extrinsic) motivation, derived from personnel economics and social psychology literature, this study predicts the influence of feedback on ideation performance. Specifically, the effectiveness of feedback on ideation performance in firm-sponsored, non–financially incentivized, idea-crowdsourcing communities may depend on its valence (positive vs. negative), source (peers vs. firm), and ideators’ ideation experience. Field data, obtained using text-mining techniques from an idea-crowdsourcing community, reveal that the effects of positive (negative) peer feedback for increasing (decreasing) subsequent idea quality strengthen (weaken) as ideators gain experience. However, the effects of positive (negative) firm feedback for increasing (decreasing) subsequent idea quality weaken with ideation experience. Experienced ideators are more motivated (less demotivated) to improve subsequent ideation performance when they receive positive peer (negative firm) feedback; inexperienced ideators are less motivated by negative peer feedback but more motivated by positive firm feedback. The results are robust to tests with alternative field data and model specifications, as validated by a controlled laboratory experiment. They also suggest feedback strategies that managers can use to boost customer ideation performance in crowdsourcing contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-126
Number of pages24
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • crowdsourcing
  • feedback valence and source
  • idea quality
  • ideation experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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