This article refines virtual co-creation from a social exchange theory perspective. It looks into who participates in virtual new product development activities, why they do so, and what they expect from their participation. A study of consumers from 10 different virtual co-creation projects provides insights into what, how, and with whom consumers want to interact when engaging in virtual co-creation projects. It shows that consumers' co-creation expectations differ along various dimensions such as the preferred interaction partner, the intensity and extent of participation, and the consumers' motivations. This analysis identifies several types of participation motives—monetary reward, recognition, challenge, intrinsic interest, and curiosity—that help explain different consumer expectations. Participants also vary in their personal characteristics and expectations towards virtual co-creation. The article also offers practical recommendations for designing a rewarding virtual co-creation platform.
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