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I MADE It or I Made IT: The Role of Regulatory Fit in Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Cocreation Activities
Authors: Yao Tang (Beihang University), Lan Xia (Bentley University), Qiuying Zheng (Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China)
As consumption increasingly shifts to experience-based, offers of co-creation in product design, production, and even service recovery are on the rise. However, the effects of co-creation are not always consistent. In general, research shows that co-creation leads to a positive bias toward outcome evaluation (Norton, Mochon, and Ariely 2012; Troye and Supphellen 2012). However, a significant number of studies also reveal non-significant or even negative effects (Dong and Sivakumar 2017).
In this research, we provide a motivation-based framework which helps to reconcile such inconsistent empirical findings. We demonstrated by five experimental studies that consumers’ motivation (promotion-focused vs. prevention-focused) and shopping orientation of a co-creation creativity (process-oriented vs. outcome-oriented) created a regulatory fit effect to enhance consumers’ willingness to pay. That was because promotion-focused consumers are more sensitive to the process experience while prevention-focused consumers are more sensitive to the attractiveness of the outcome. Specially, Study 1A & 1B found that promotion-focused consumers matched with a process shopping orientation and prevention-focused consumers matched with an outcome shopping orientation to enhance consumers’ willingness to pay (Study 1A& Study 1B). Moreover, co-creation task characteristics such as the degree of autonomy (Study 2), the complexity of the task (Study 3) and the completion of the task(Study 4) were proved to have opposite effects given different motivations, which provided further support for the proposed fit effect.
We make several contributions as follows. First, co-creation is a joint activity of the provider and the customer and includes both a process and an outcome. While research demonstrates either a positive or negative effect of co-creation, few studies have examined the relative role of the process and the outcome in evaluations. In response, we contribute by shedding more light on the nature of co-creation activities. Second, we conceptualize and demonstrate that co-creation can be a double-edged sword, as the effort input can be considered either a disutility or an opportunity depending on consumer motivations by delving into 45 effects from 22 papers mentioned in Dong and Sivakumar (2017)’s systematic. Third, we take a nuanced view to examine how customers’ regulatory focus as a typical motivation account (promotion-focused vs. prevention focused) influences their sensitivity to the process and the outcome of the co-creation activities, creating a regulatory fit effect. In addition, regulatory orientation interacts with various task characteristics, leading to different evaluations. Thus we contribute to the understanding of the subjective nature of consumer co-creation experiences and provide a framework to reconcile the inconsistent findings in the literature.