Title

User involvement in innovation projects: Toward a theory of user information processing

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1995

Publication Source

Journal of Engineering and Technology Management

Volume

12

Issue

1-2

Inclusive pages

77-109

DOI

10.1016/0923-4748(95)00005-7

ISBN/ISSN

09234748

Abstract

This study examines user involvement at the project level as a specific form of information processing. The information processing perspective (Daft and Lengel, 1984, Daft and Lengel, 1986; Galbraith, 1977; Tushman and Nadler, 1980) provides a robust framework for understanding the rationale and dynamics of user involvement in innovations, and complements existing work in this phenomenon (Allen, 1977; Ives and Olson, 1984; Foxall and Johnston, 1987; von Hippel, 1976, 1977a, 1977b, 1981, 1988). Information processing provides the foundation for development of a contingency model of user involvement that emphasizes the importance of matching involvement to known and unknown uncertainty in projects and to the environmental context. In investigating the relationship between user involvement, organizational context and performance in 44 innovation projects, we found that the frequency of user involvement and number of users contacted increased as projects progressed from idea generation to commercialization. We also found that specific measures of uncertainty were related to user involvement. Additionally, we found a significant interaction between known uncertainty and frequency of user involvement with respect to project performance. Implications of these findings for project management and theory development are discussed.

Keywords

mansour-cole, innovation projects, user information processing

Disciplines

Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Organizational Behavior and Theory

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