Extending lead user theory: Antecedents and consequences of consumers' lead userness

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Lead users have been shown to be a highly promising source of innovation for generating radical new product ideas. According to lead user theory, these users are defined as being ahead of an important market trend and experiencing high benefits from innovating. There is strong empirical support that these users tend to come up with commercially attractive user innovations. Other than that, however, there is hardly any knowledge available which helps to describe and differentiate this "species" of user from more "ordinary" users. The present article aims to fill this gap and extends lead user theory by exploring some antecedents and consequences of consumers' "lead userness". As regards antecedents, it is argued that a consumer's leading-edge status will depend on field-related as well as field-independent variables. First, it is hypothesized that a consumer's basis of knowledge and use experience gained in the underlying field will help explain one's lead userness. Second, it is hypothesized that the two general personality traits of "locus of control" and "innovativeness" will be related to users' leading-edge status in a given domain. As regards consequences, this article develops a link between individuals' lead userness and new product adoption behavior. It is hypothesized that lead users will demonstrate innovative behavior not only by innovating on their own, but also by adopting new products faster and more intensively. These tenets are tested in the course of three studies on extreme sports communities (sailplaners [n=129], technical divers [n=193], and kite surfers [n=139]). Overall, findings are throughout affirmative. First, it is found that the proposed antecedents (both field-related as well as both field-independent variables) are strongly related to consumer's lead userness.
Seiten (von - bis)331 - 346
FachzeitschriftJournal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM)
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2008

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