Two papers are presented that provide knowledge and build theory related to how and why creative consumers engage in creative consumption and what the managerial implications of their innovation activity are. The first paper presents an in-depth qualitative exploration of the motivations creative consumers have for tinkering with existing offerings and of their relationship to the organization linked to the source material of their innovation. This paper reveals that there are two main types of creative consumers – those who innovate in order to solve problems or needs, and those who innovate for the sake of creative exploration. This finding is consistent with theories of consumer behaviour that characterize consumption as either predominately utilitarian (i.e., task-related and rational) or as hedonic (i.e., fun or pleasurable). In the second paper, I focus on the branding and intellectual property implications of creative consumption. Because creative consumers innovate by changing existing offerings in some way, and typically do so without permission, intellectual property issues are not uncommon in situations of creative consumption. The second paper develops a framework that considers the extent to which intellectual property rights can be applied to stop or control creative consumption and the extent to which creative consumption is desirable from a brand value perspective. Research on creative consumers has provided interesting and influential insights concerning how firms should respond to them. This dissertation is intended to shed new light on creative consumers and the managerial implications of their creative activities.
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Thesis advisor: Pitt, Leyland
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