Competitive market innovation contests and social capital: diametrically opposed, or inherently linked?

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Treacy, Stephen
Feller, Joseph
O'Flaherty, Brian
Nagle, Tadhg
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Competitive market innovation contest platforms are increasingly used by businesses to identify new products or services to offer their customer base; yet, the degree to which social capital has been explored within these online communities remains scarce. While there is ample support for the presence of social capital within other forms of virtual communities to facilitate knowledge sharing, competitive markets represent a unique setting given the inherent competitive nature of their contest solvers. This has led to a distinct lack of prior research exploring this area, especially as previous studies have chosen to focus instead on social capital vis-à-vis solver motivation rather than a standalone theory. We investigate six competitive markets from the perspective of their experts to explore how the three dimensions of social capital have a role within this setting: (1) the structural dimension (involving social ties), (2) the relational dimension (involving trust, reciprocity and self-identity), and (3) the cognitive dimension (involving shared language and shared vision). Through this study, we present a theoretical model of both the emergent themes and the net impacts of social capital within competitive markets, and discuss its implications for both IS research and practice.
Open Innovation , Innovation contests , Competitive markets , Social capital
Treacy, S., Feller, J., O'Flaherty, B. and Nagle, T. (2017) 'Competitive market innovation contests and social capital: diametrically opposed, or inherently linked?', in Proceedings of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, 5-10 June, pp. 1695-1712. Available at: (Accessed: 15 February 2019)
© 2017, the Authors. This material is brought to you by 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2017) at AIS Electronic Library (AISeL).