Customer engagement in idea contests: Emotional and behavioral consequences of idea rejection

Mario Schaarschmidt*, David B. Dose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Idea contests are well-accepted and cost-efficient approaches to tap the creativity of customers. At the same time, idea contests enable customer engagement, defined as voluntary resource provision beyond financial patronage. However, although much research has been devoted to the factors that motivate consumers to participate in such contests, research that investigates how idea rejection as a stressor affects future engagement behavior is comparatively rare. This research draws on cognitive dissonance literature combined with stress appraisal theory to explain rejection-induced emotional and behavioral consequences. Study 1 assesses the different effects of company appreciation of customer engagement (i.e., idea acceptance vs. rejection) in an experimental setting and tests emotional reactions to rejection as a stressor, as well as the moderating effects of firm acknowledgment. Study 2, which was organized as a randomized field experiment, is devoted to assessing differences in firm acknowledgment versus individualized firm feedback in a real-world setting. Taken together, the studies show that the way rejection is communicated is important. The findings have important theoretical and managerial implications for service management and for stimulating customer engagement through idea contest initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-909
Number of pages22
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number5
Early online date24 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


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