Continued Participation in Online Innovation Communities: Does Community Response Matter Equally for Everyone?

In this study, we focus on the factors that influence online innovation community members’ continued participation in the context of open source software development (OSSD) communities. Prior research on continued participation in online communities has primarily focused on social interactions among members and benefits obtained from these interactions. However, members of these communities often play different roles, which have been examined extensively, albeit in a separate stream of research. This study attempts to bridge these two streams of research by investigating the joint influence of community response and members’ roles on continued participation. We categorize OSSD community members into users and modifiers and empirically examine the differential effects of community response across these roles. By analyzing a longitudinal data set of activities in the discussion forums of more than 300 OSSD projects, we not only confirm the positive influence of community response on members’ continued participation but also find that community response is more influential in driving the continuance behavior of users than that of modifiers. In addition, this research highlights the importance of modifiers, a key subgroup of OSSD participants that has been largely overlooked by prior research.