Cooperating in Innovation Contests: Effects and Boundary Conditions of Competitive Reward Structures

Christoph Grimpe, Marion Poetz, Nathan Rietzler, Florian Waldner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Many platforms hosting innovation contests allow their participants to share ideas and knowledge with each other and many participants take advantage of this opportunity, questioning common beliefs that competitive rewards lead individuals to withhold knowledge and impair the progress of others while cooperative rewards promote knowledge exchange. In this paper, we build on social interdependence theory to analyze how and when competitive reward structures influence the likelihood that contestants cooperate. Using an experimental vignette study, we first test the effects of competition on cooperative behavior (Study 1) and find that competitive reward structures negatively impact an individual’s likelihood to cooperate, with the effect being more pronounced for sharing compared to absorbing knowledge. In Study 2, we apply a multi-stage configurational approach to first identify, categorize and specify attributes that influence individuals’ decision to cooperate (or not) and then explore their importance weights and inter-relatedness in an adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis combined with an ensemble cluster analysis. We find that it is not a single, but bundles of attributes dominated by either the fear of misappropriation in all competitive reward structures or by extrinsic motivation in the non- and lowly competitive conditions and intrinsic motivation in the highly competitive condition. Our findings hold important implications for the design of innovation platforms and contests.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonja Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023: Putting the Worker Front and Center - Boston, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20238 Aug 2023
Conference number: 83


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings

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