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The Secret to Successful User Communities: An Analysis of Computer Associates’ User Groups


  • Schulz, Celine


This paper provides the first large scale study that examines the impact of both individual- and group-specific factors on the benefits users obtain from their user communities. By empirically analysing 924 survey responses from individuals in 161 Computer Associates' user groups, this paper aims to identify the determinants of successful user communities. To measure success, the amount of time individual members save through having access to their user networks is used. As firms can significantly profit from successful user communities, this study proposes four key implications of the empirical results for the management of user communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Schulz, Celine, 2006. "The Secret to Successful User Communities: An Analysis of Computer Associates’ User Groups," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 1257, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:1257

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dougherty, Keith L, 2003. "Public Goods Theory from Eighteenth Century Political Philosophy to Twentieth Century Economics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(3-4), pages 239-253, December.
    2. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
    3. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "The open source movement: Key research questions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 819-826, May.
    4. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2007. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 160-169, March.
    5. Hertel, Guido & Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie, 2003. "Motivation of software developers in Open Source projects: an Internet-based survey of contributors to the Linux kernel," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
    6. Glen L. Urban & Eric von Hippel, 1988. "Lead User Analyses for the Development of New Industrial Products," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(5), pages 569-582, May.
    7. Zeitlyn, David, 2003. "Gift economies in the development of open source software: anthropological reflections," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1287-1291, July.
    8. Cowan, Robin & David, Paul A & Foray, Dominique, 2000. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 211-253, June.
    9. Dahlander, Linus & Magnusson, Mats G., 2005. "Relationships between open source software companies and communities: Observations from Nordic firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 481-493, May.
    10. Dominique Foray, 2006. "The Economics of Knowledge," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262562235, July.
    11. James Tobin, 1956. "Estimation of Relationships for Limited Dependent Variables," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 3R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    12. Franke, Nikolaus & Shah, Sonali, 2003. "How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing among end-users," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-178, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wsi:ijimxx:v:12:y:2008:i:03:n:s1363919608002096 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Volker Bilgram & Alexander Brem & Kai-Ingo Voigt, 2010. "User-Centric Innovations In New Product Development — Systematic Identification Of Lead Users Harnessing Interactive And Collaborative Online-Tools," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Perspectives On User Innovation, chapter 5, pages 91-129 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..

    More about this item


    Managing User Communities; Collective Action; Information Sharing;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General

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