Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level





Ronn Smith

Committee Member

Elizabeth Howlett

Second Committee Member

Scot Burton


Consumer Collaboration, Consumer-Company Identity, Organizational Identity, Product Development, Social Distance, Social Identity


Consumers expect greater involvement in the product and service offerings of firms. In response, the integration of collaboration in the new product development (NPD) process has become of interest to researchers across disciplines. Collaboration can be viewed as a "looking glass" technique, which fosters an enhanced sense of shared identity by promoting a "we" versus an "us-them" orientation. Drawing from social identity and exchange theories, the central purpose of this dissertation is understanding ways that collaboration influences perceptions during the NPD process to help shape consumers' identity with the firm.

Essay 1 employs a mixed-method approach across three studies to discover the elements and consequences of collaboration that are the most meaningful to consumers; to test how collaboration moderates consumer outcomes with changes in marketing strategy elements; and to identify a significant mechanism underlying trust-building. Essay 2 demonstrates across four experiments how collaboration that is implemented in each stage of the NPD process affects consumers' cognitive and behavioral responses. Findings indicate that collaboration outcomes differ as a function of consumers' involvement with the product. Additionally, collaborator-specific (e.g., collaboration motivation) and firm-specific (e.g., brand trust) differences show that, while each form of collaboration along the development timeline may be objectively similar, consumers' subjective interpretation of each stage varies significantly in favor of collaboration that occurs earlier in the NPD process (e.g., idea generation). Utilizing structural equation modeling methodology, Essay 3 expands upon conceptual models to ascertain how the effects of collaboration are mediated by perceived social distance, while concurrently examining attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. The final structural model explains 57 percent of the variance in consumers' purchase intentions, and generally suggests collaboration as a favorable way to influence perceptions of trust toward the product, the brand, and the firm.

Included in

Marketing Commons