The ‘I designed it myself’ vs. the ‘I made it myself’ effect: Is it the customization or the work that counts?

Maria Sääksjärvi, Pinar Cankurtaran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific


Consumers are no longer passive recipients of products, but are actively involved in various stages of their creation from their design to their actual production. Regarding design, consumers can customize everything from t-shirts and shoes to shelves on their own, often using toolkits of configurators that help them in the process. A specific type of customization effort that has lately become pervasive is customized assembly, where consumers need to expend effort also in the production stage in order for their preferred designs to come to fruition. This makes customized assembly a particularly intriguing form of consumer participation because, ceteris paribus, consumers should welcome the opportunity to customize (a benefit) but avoid the effort of assembly (a cost). However, there is evidence to suggest that consumers also enjoy participating in the making of a good. This study examines whether customers’ satisfaction with customized assembly products is driven by their participation in their design (the “I designed it myself” effect) or their production (the “I made it myself” effect) by means of an experiment. In marked contrast to studies on customization, our results support the “I made it myself” effect over the “I designed it myself” effect - consumers want to be co-producers of good products, regardless of whether who designed it. Our results also indicate that the influence of designing on satisfaction is derived from self-expression provided by customization, whereas the influence making is mediated by the pleasure derived from co-production. These mechanisms operate in parallel to produce the satisfaction consumers experience toward the customized assembly product. For companies, knowing how consumers derive satisfaction from customized assembly products can provide valuable insight into crafting and positioning such products.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 24th International Innovation and Product Development Management Conference
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event24th Innovation and Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC) - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 11 Jun 201713 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameIPDMC papers
ISSN (Electronic)1998-7374


Conference24th Innovation and Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC)


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