Introducing Contests to a Social Community: The Effects of Competition on a User-generated Content

Jörg Claussen, Maria Anna Halbinger, Lior Zalmanson

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


Maintaining active user contributions is a key challenge for user-generated platforms. We argue that contests could be a promising tool for managing the operations of user-generated content platforms because they can activate the community and steer platform participants to explore new terrains for creation, but that they could also have adverse effects on regular content creation. While contests themselves have been studied extensively, we are the first to explore the impact of launching a contest on a user-generated content (UGC) platform centered around users’ community contributions. We argue that contests lead to increased community reaction as humans are drawn to contests, as contests attract competent contributors, and they incentivize increasing efforts. But we also expect a downside of community reaction as the social comparison between contributors creates negative incentives for a future content generation if they do not achieve high relative levels of community reaction. We finally expect that contests trigger more exploration by contributors and that these effects also translate into future content creation. Our empirical context is the 3D printing platform Thingiverse, for which we can compare regular platform content creation activities with 3D designs that have been submitted. Using a large sample of contest submissions, we find strong support for our hypotheses and identify mechanisms that drive the results.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia 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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