In online communities (a form of VCI in which customers can share their knowledge or simply interact with each other), people seem to be motivated by creativity or their identification with the brand itself to contribute to the VCI process (Füller, Matzler, and Hoppe, 2008). Further, passion, trust and brand knowledge are important factors (Füller, Matzler, and Hoppe, 2008). In the case of online communities in the video gaming sector or networking engineers, mem-bers of online communities show a high degree of involvement with a high technical compe-tence (Sawhney, Verona, and Prandelli, 2005). When members of the Ducati community were asked to complete a survey, the company received response rates around 25% (Sawhney, Ve-rona, and Prandelli, 2005). Since brand community members are highly involved and familiar, it is logical that a company like Ducati should receive such a high response rate. Nevertheless, 75% of the members did not take part in this case. This percentage might be even higher for VCI efforts made with customers who are not emotionally involved with a specific brand or company. The question remains why people reject integration into companies’ NPD process.
When confronted with new products, services or innovation in general, Rogers has created a fundamental model that describes the innovation decision process. Consumers facing innova-tion must pass through five stages until the adoption process ends. First, people become aware of an innovation and receive more and more information about it; this is known as the knowledge stage. In the next stage, the persuasion stage, customers form a more stable opin-ion towards the innovation. The opinion whether a product should be either adopted or reject-ed is formed in the decision stage, which transforms into an action (adoption or rejection) in the implementation stage. In the last stage of the decision process, consumers confirm the ac-tion made in the earlier stages. (Rogers, 1983) This model begins with the premise that all con-sumers facing an innovation pass through all five stages of the decision process. What hap-pens, however, if a product or service is rejected prior to the persuasion stage?
According to Talke and Heidenreich, passive innovation resistance derives from either the inclination to resist change or a satisfactory status quo (Talke and Heidenreich, 2014). In the first stage of the innovation decision process, the knowledge stage, if both the consumers’ inclination to resist change and the status quo satisfaction reach a specific level, passive inno-vation resistance may occur (Kuisma, Laukkanen, and Hiltunen, 2007). In this case, the inno-vation is not evaluated at all; instead, personality-related or situation-specific factors might be responsible for resistance. This could also be extended to include whether or not a consumer wants to engage in VCI, since both the inclination to resist change and status quo satisfaction do not affect the adoption of an innovation itself. Instead it might affect the attitude towards something new in general. Ellen et al. have suggested that rejecting anything that creates change is a normal and foreseeable consumer response (Ellen, Bearden, and Sharma, 1991).
Many researchers have located the cause of innovation resistance in consumers’ personalities; it thus leads to an inclination to resist change, or it arises from the satisfaction with the current situation (Bagozzi and Lee, 1999; Nabih, Bloem, and Poiesz, 1997; Szmigin and Foxall, 1998). Sheth has summarised the reason for innovation resistance as follows: “The typical hu-man tendency is to strive for consistency and status quo than to continuously search for, and embrace new behaviours” (Sheth, 1981, p. 275). People strive for psychological balance, which can be imbalanced by change caused by new entities such as innovations (Osgood and Tannenbaum, 1955). Judge et at. have noted that change can be experienced as something which causes mental pressure (Judge et al., 1999). Therefore, consumers may not enter the next stage of the innovation decision process but reject the product novelty from the start. As stated above, innovation resistance may originate in the human tendency to resist change in the first place. Oreg has introduced six factors that illustrate the role of adopter-specific fac-tors in connection with innovation resistance; these can help explain why people resist change. Talke and Heidenreich (2014) also applied these factors to explain why some people have a tendency to refuse new products. These factors include: 1) reluctance to lose control, 2) cogni-tive rigidity, 3) lack of psychological resilience, 4) intolerance to the adjustment period, 5) preference for low levels of stimulation and 6) reluctance to give up old habits (Oreg, 2003). Research has shown that the inclination to resist change represents the most important factor influencing change-related behaviour (Oreg, 2003).
When faced with decisions, people often adhere to the status quo rather than trying something different (Samuelson and Zeckhauser, 1988). Ram (1987) has confirmed that a satisfactory status quo derives from situation-specific factors (Ram, 1987). Status quo satisfaction can lead to questionable decisions, such as preferring the current, inferior situation over an objectively better alternative situation (Falk et al., 2007). Hess has argued that switching to a different product might be accompanied by possible losses (Hess, 2009 cited in Talke and Heidenreich, 2014, p. 898), which is why consumers trust tried, proven products (Hetts et al., 2000). Final-ly, it has been shown that customers who are satisfied with their product have a negative im-pact on adopting a new product or innovation (Ellen, Bearden, and Sharma, 1991). Thus, sta-tus quo satisfaction also may lead to innovation resistance. With respect to VCI, status quo satisfaction may also influence customers’ motivation to contribute to the virtual NPD pro-cess.
Both the inclination to resist change and the satisfactory status quo can be associated with Roger’s types of adopters that least accept an innovation: the late majority and the laggards, which represent approximately 50% of all consumers (Rogers, 1983). Innovators and early adopters both adopt new things quickly and are open-minded towards innovations (Rogers, 1983). This group of consumers certainly does not fit the definition of Sheth (1981), which states that humans strive for consistency. Thus, a small group of consumers seems to be open-minded concerning VCI, whereas a much larger group feels some resistance towards innova-tions. These barriers must be investigated so that companies can benefit from customers’ nec-essary information in order to successfully operate in the market.
Active innovation resistance can be seperated into functional barriers and psychological barri-ers; it describes how innovation-specific factors influence these barriers (Talke and Hei-denreich, 2014). Ram and Sheth have noted that both functional and psychological barriers are the main drivers for innovation resistance (Ram and Sheth, 1989). Since innovation-specific factors are the main driver for active innovation resistance, any opinions a consumer has regarding a certain product that conflict with the product itself may result in resistance towards it (Laukkanen, Sinkkonen, and Laukkanen, 2008). In a brief discussion of functional barriers, Ram and Sheth have stated that usage and value barriers prevent customers from adopting an innovation (Ram and Sheth, 1989). By extending this model for functional barri-ers, Talke and Heidenreich added several additional barriers, such as the complexity barrier (Talke and Heidenreich, 2014). However, they have categorised the usage barrier not as a functional but as a psychological barrier. In the following section, the usage barrier is catego-rised as a functional barrier since this category primarily refers to a product’s compatibility with existing habits (Ram and Sheth, 1989), not the psychological threats caused by the inno-vation. The change caused by the new product can be better understood under the earlier men-tioned status quo satisfaction bias, which specifically shows how the innovation can imbalance the customers’ psyche, resulting in innovation resistance.
First, psychological barriers may stem from a mismatch between a consumer’s tradition or cul-ture and the product or the cultural change created by the innovation (Ram and Sheth, 1989). As an example of the tradition barrier, Ram and Sheth have pointed out eating habits or the introduction of a certain food to a new culture (Ram and Sheth, 1989). Bringing any kind of food consisting of pork to an Arabic or Muslim country is likely unacceptable to the majority of the population due to conflicting religious beliefs and tradition. Image barriers appear as soon as the customer views product-related attributes as inappropriate, like the product class, the country the product was produced in or the brand itself (Kuisma, Laukkanen, and Mil-tunen 2007; Ram and Sheth, 1989). Closely related to the tradition barrier, norm barriers arise if a novel product conflicts with a customer’s norms or values (Laukkanen, Sinkkonen, and Laukkanen, 2008; Ram and Sheth, 1989). Consumers can also create innovation resistance if they notice information deficiency about a new product or service, which may result in uncer-tainty (Kuisma, Laukkanen, and Miltunen 2007).
Additionally, risk barriers occur if an innova-tion is evaluated as dangerous; this situation is closely related to the physical barrier, which results from an innovation that could harm the customer. Functional barriers describe a prod-uct’s unreliable performance, and economic risk barriers may result from a poor performance-to-price value. (Ram and Sheth, 1989) Finally, social risk barriers might derive from depreca-tion from closely related individuals when adopting a certain product (Ram and Sheth, 1989). Even though most of the addressed barriers are connected to actual innovations and try to explain innovation resistance of usable products on the market, most can also be linked to the VCI process. Security risks, for instance, might also influence whether a customer is ready to participate in VCI.
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